25 October 2018
JS BY EMAIL: [FOI #4834 email]
In reply please quote:
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision
On 27 September 2018, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) received a request
for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act).
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a decision on your request for access under the
Scope of request
You have requested access to the following documents:
A document that set out the basis for the Department’s claim, published on its
website, that a valid FOI request requires the FOI applicant complete an online
form, Access to information.
[including] a document that set out the basis for the Department’s claim that a valid
FOI request requires the applicant to:
have read and understood the Department's Privacy statement
have read and understood the Department's Security statement
establish that the applicant is not a robot using the reCAPTCHA process.
On 8 October 2018, the Department provided you with a response to your email indicating
that it had accepted your enquiry as a complaint.
We advised you that the Department is committed to delivering digital services and the
online ‘Access to Information’ form has been launched to enable applicants to request
access to or amend information through online services.
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 • Telephone: 02 8862 6118 • Fax: 02 8861 4865 • www.homeaffairs.gov.au
We also advised you that the requirement for users to read and understand the privacy and
security statements and identify themselves as a person rather than robot is a minimum
standard web design and online data collection. This is not for the purpose of determining
if a request to access information is valid.
While completing the ‘Access to Information’ online form is a method for a person to make
a valid FOI request, an applicant can make a valid FOI request to the Department through
other channels, including the Right to Know website, direct to the FOI email address that
is listed on the website, or by writing to the Department and addressing their request to the
Freedom of Information Section.
We provided you with a link to more information about the Digital transformation agenda
and Digital Service Standards at the Digital Transformation Agency website at www.dta.gov.au.
On 23 October 2018, you responded indicating that you wished to proceed with your
request for access to documents, as submitted on 27 September 2018.
Authority to make decision
I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOI Act to make decisions in respect of
requests to access documents or to amend or annotate records.
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:
• the terms of your request
• the FOI Act
• Guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner under section 93A
of the FOI Act (the FOI Guidelines)
• advice from Departmental officers with responsibility for matters relating to the
documents to which you sought access
Documents in scope of request
The Department has undertaken reasonable searches in relation to the documents you
have requested access to.
Having regard to your request and the types of documents that may fall within the scope
of your request I am satisfied that the searches conducted were extremely thorough and
all reasonable steps have been taken to locate any document relevant to your request. A
report for this purpose does not currently exist.
Section 24A of the FOI Act provided that the Department may refuse a request for access
to a document if all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document and the
Department is satisfied that the document does not exist.
I am satisfied that no documents were in the possession of the Department on 27
September 2018 when your FOI request was received. As such I am refusing access to
the documents requested by you based on the application of section 24A of the FOI Act.
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A copy of the FOI Act is available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00251.
If you are unable to access the legislation through this website, please contact our office
for a copy.
Your Review Rights
If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to apply for an internal review by the
Department of this decision. Any request for internal review must be provided to the
Department within 30 days of you being notified of the decision. Where possible please
attach reasons why you believe a review of the decision is necessary. The internal review
will be carried out by an officer other than the original decision maker and the Department
must make a review decision within 30 days.
Applications for review should be sent to:
By email to: [email address]
By mail to:
Freedom of Information Section
Department of Home Affairs
PO Box 25
BELCONNEN ACT 2617
Review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
You may apply directly to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for
a review of this decision. You must apply in writing within 60 days of this notice. For further
information about review rights and how to submit a request for a review to the OAIC,
please see Fact Sheet 12 "Freedom of information – Your review rights", available online
Making a Complaint
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about action taken by the
Department in relation to your request.
Your enquiries to the Australian Information Commissioner can be directed to:
Phone 1300 363 992 (local call charge)
Email [email address]
There is no particular form required to make a complaint to the Australian Information
Commissioner. The request should be in writing and should set out the grounds on which
it is considered that the action taken in relation to the request should be investigated and
identify the Department of Home Affairs as the relevant agency.
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Contacting the FOI Section
Should you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the FOI Section
at [DIBP request email].
Authorised Decision Maker
Department of Home Affairs
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