This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'FOI Training Costs in FY16/17'.

Reference: [R34862734] 
I refer to the application by Ms Verity Pane under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 
(FOI Act), for access to: 
“…Under FOI I seek copy of any document held by the Freedom of Information 
Section, of the Enterprise Reform Branch, in the Governance & Reform Division (titles 
which are antonyms to the actual conduct of the staff in these areas I note) that was 
created in FY16/17, that relates to any expenditure by that section on training for FOI 

FOI decision maker 
I am the authorised officer pursuant to section 23 of the FOI Act to make a decision on 
this FOI request. 
Documents identified 
I identified 11 documents as matching the description of the request.  
The decision in relation to each document is detailed in a schedule of documents.  
I have added an FOI reference number and Item/Serial number to each of the 
documents, which corresponds with the schedule. 
I have decided to: 
a.  release three documents in full; 
b.  partially release two documents in accordance with section 22 [access to edited 
copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted] of the FOI Act, on the grounds 
that the deleted material is considered exempt under section 47G [public 
interest conditional exemptions-business] of the FOI Act; 
c.  deny access to six documents in accordance with section 22 [access to edited 
copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted] of the FOI Act, on the grounds 
that the deleted material is considered exempt under sections 47E(d) [public 
interest conditional exemptions-certain operations of agencies] and section 
47G [public interest conditional exemptions-business] of the FOI Act; and 
d.  remove irrelevant material as referred to in the scope of the request in 
accordance with section 22(1)(b)(ii) of the FOI Act. 
Material taken into account 
In making my decision, I had regard to: 
a.  the terms of the request; 
b.  the content of the identified documents in issue; 

c.  relevant provisions in the FOI Act;  
d.  the Guidelines published by the Office of the Australian Information 
Commissioner under section 93A of the FOI Act (the Guidelines); and 
e.  comments received from a third party following consultation. 
Reasons for decision  
Section 47E(d) – certain operations of agencies 
I found that parts of the identified documents contain material in respect of which a 
claim for exemption under section 47E(d) of the FOI Act may be warranted. Access must 
generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the 
public interest. 
Section 47E(d) of the FOI Act states: 
‘A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or 
could reasonably be expected to, do any of the following:… 

have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the 
operations of an agency.’ 
10.  Where access has been denied to information under section 47E(d) of the FOI Act, I 
considered that the material could reasonably be expected to have a substantial adverse effect 
on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of Defence.  
11.  Upon examination of the documents, I identified third party information relating to a 
business. The information, if released, could affect the integrity and efficacy of the 
Department of Defence’s internal processes and procedures regarding contracts and 
contractors. If the information was made publically available it could reasonably cause an 
adverse effect on Defence’s ability to conduct, manage and perform its functions and working 
relationships with contractors in the future. 
12.  Taking the above into account, I consider that the identified documents contain 
information which is conditionally exempt under section 47E(d) of the FOI Act. 
13.  Section 11A (5) provides that, if a document is conditionally exempt, it must be disclosed 
‘unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that time would, on balance, be contrary 
to the public interest’. 
14.  My public interest arguments are detailed below.  
Section 47G - Business 
15.  Where access has been denied under section 47G of the FOI Act, I considered that the 
material would, or could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on the businesses 
who provided training to the agency. 
Section 47G of the FOI Act states “A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under 
this Act would disclose information concerning a person in respect of his or her business or 
professional affairs or concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an 
organisation or undertaking, in a case in which the disclosure of the information: 

would, or could reasonably be expected to, unreasonably affect that person 
adversely in respect of his or her lawful business or professional affairs; or 

any other information having a commercial value that would be, or could 
reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the information 
were disclosed.” 

16.  Upon examination of the documents I found that they contained information of a 
commercial value that may be considered exempt. The Guidelines, paragraph 5.202, provide 
that the information must satisfy two criteria: 
a.   the document must contain information that has a commercial value to an 
agency or to another person or body 
b.  the commercial value of this information would, or could reasonably be 
expected to be, destroyed or diminished if it was disclosed. 
17.  I also had regard to the Guidelines, paragraph 5.203, which outlines factors which may 
assist in deciding in a particular case whether information has commercial value. Factors 
a.  whether the information is known only to the agency or person for whom it has 
value or, if known to others, to what extent that detracts from the intrinsic 
commercial value 

b.   whether the information confers a competitive advantage on the agency or 
person to whom it relates – for example, if it lowers the cost of production or 
allows access to markets not available to competitors 

c.   whether a genuine ‘arms-length’ buyer would be prepared to pay to obtain 
that information 
d.   whether the information is still current or out of date (out of date information 
may no longer have any value) 
e.  whether disclosing the information would reduce the value of a business 
operation or commercial activity – reflected, perhaps, in a lower share price. 
I found that the documents contained information relating to business processes, pricing 
and financial matters of a business providing training services to the agency.  
I am satisfied that the expected effect of disclosing material identified as exempt under 
section 47G could have an adverse effect on this business as disclosure of training costings could 
diminish the competitive nature and affect the profitability of  the business operations by releasing 
this information.  
20.  In light of the above, I have decided that the specified material identified is in fact 
conditionally exempt pursuant to section 47G of the FOI Act.  
Sections 47E(d) and 47G - Public interest considerations 
14.  I have found that the identified documents are conditionally exempt under sections 
47E(d) and 47G of the FOI Act. Section 11A(5) provides that, if a document is conditionally 
exempt, it must be disclosed ‘unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that time 
would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest’. 
15.  I considered the factors favouring disclosure set out in section 11B(3) of the FOI Act. 
The relevant factors being that disclosure may promote some of the objects of the FOI Act, as 
information held by the Government is a national resource. 
16.  However, disclosure of this information would not increase public participation in the 
Defence process (section 3(2)(a) of the FOI Act), nor would it increase scrutiny or discussion 
of Defence activities (section 3(2)(b) of the FOI Act). 

17.  Paragraph 6.22 of the Guidelines specifies a non-exhaustive list of public interest 
factors against disclosure. The factors I find particularly relevant to this request are that 
release of this information could reasonably be expected to prejudice: 
a.  the competitive commercial activities of an agency; 
b.  an agency’s ability to obtain confidential information; and 
c.  an agency’s ability to obtain similar information in the future. 
18.  Releasing the pricing information of the business that provides FOI training to Defence 
would harm its future profitability and affect Defence’s ability to obtain similar information 
in future. It would equally effect Defence’s ability to operate if contracts were not managed 
with the appropriate care.  
19.  It is for those reasons that I find that the public interest factors against disclosure 
outweigh the factors for disclosure and I deem the information exempt under sections 47G 
and 47E(d) of the FOI Act. 
20.  None of the factors listed in section 11B(4) [Irrelevant factors] were taken into account 
when making my decision. 
Section 22  
21.  Subsection 22(1) of the FOI Act requires that where a decision maker denies access to a 
document they must consider releasing the document with exempt matter deleted, where 
possible. I have considered disclosing the documents to the applicant with deletions, but have 
decided against this course of action, as the document would be meaningless and of little or 
no value once the exempt material is removed. 
Digitally signed by 
 nicola.viney nicola.viney 
Date: 2018.07.27 09:10:11 
Nicola Viney 
Accredited Decision Maker 
Associate Secretary Group