Our reference: RQ18/03633
Agency reference: FOI Request No. 219/18/19
Mr Josh Morrison
Sent by email: [FOI #5142 email]
Extension of time under s 15AB
Dear Mr Morrison
On 13 December 2018, the Department of Defence (the Department) applied to the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner (the OAIC) for further time to make a decision on
your FOI request of 4 December 2018.
This application for an additional 30 days was made on the basis that the period for
processing your FOI request is insufficient to deal adequately with your request because it is
complex or voluminous.
The Department advised that it sought your agreement to an extension of time for a period
of 30 days under s 15AA of the FOI Act, such that the period for processing your request
would end on 2 February 2019 and that you opposed the Department’s request.
The effect of the Department’s request to the OAIC is that the time for the Department to
make a decision on your FOI request would be extended to 2 February 2019.
As a delegate of the Information Commissioner, I am authorised to make decisions on
applications for extensions of time under s 15AB of the FOI Act. I have decided to grant the
Department an extension of time under s 15AB(2) of the FOI Act to 18 January 2019
2 February 2019 as sought).
By granting an extension of time it is anticipated that the Department will provide a well-
reasoned and better managed decision.
In making my decision, I have had regard to the reasons provided by the Department,
the Department is subject to a stand-down period between 22 December 2018 and 1
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9749
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
ABN 85 249 230 937
there is a period of compulsory leave (subject to operational requirements) during
the statutory processing period of your FOI request which will impact on the
availability of subject matter experts and authorised decision-makers within the
the military posting cycle occurs during the processing period
and that these factors will impact on the Department’s ability to make a decision within the
I note that the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of
the Freedom of Information Act 1982
provides at paragraph [3.149] that:
Staff absences due to public holidays or agency shutdown periods may be relevant to
whether an extension should be granted, if the particular staff members have skills or
knowledge that may be required to process the request in the normal statutory timeframe.
Further information about how applications to extend the timeframe to process an FOI
request are handled by the OAIC can be found published on our website:
FOI fact sheet 16: Freedom of information — Extensions of time
FOI agency resource 13: Extension of time for processing requests.
If you have any questions about this correspondence, please contact me on 02 9284 9643 or
via email [email address].
In all correspondence please include OAIC reference number
Freedom of Information
20 December 2018
You can apply to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court for a review of a
decision of the Information Commissioner if you think that a decision by the Information
Commissioner to grant an extension of time application under the Freedom of Information
(the FOI Act) is not legally correct. You can make this application under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
The Court will not review the merits of your case but it may refer the matter back to the
Information Commissioner for further consideration if it finds the decision was wrong in law
or the Information Commissioner’s powers were not exercised properly.
An application for review must be made to the Court within 28 days of the OAIC sending the
decision to you. You may wish to seek legal advice as the process can involve fees and costs.
Please contact the Federal Court registry in your state or territory for more information, or
visit the Federal Court website at http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/.
Making a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman
If you believe you have been treated unfairly by the OAIC, you can make a complaint to the
Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Ombudsman). The Ombudsman's services are free. The
Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the administrative actions of Australian
Government agencies to see if you have been treated unfairly.
If the Ombudsman finds your complaint is justified, the Ombudsman can recommend that
the OAIC reconsider or change its action or decision or take any other action that the
Ombudsman considers is appropriate. You can contact the Ombudsman's office for more
information on 1300 362 072 or visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman's website at http://www.ombudsman.gov.au.