Our reference: RQ19/01889
Agency reference: FOI 19-14
Mr Oscar Thompson
Sent by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension of time under s 15AC
Dear Mr Thompson
On 12 July 2019, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) advised this office that
it had not made a decision on your FOI request of 5 May 2019 within the statutory period
provided by the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (the FOI Act). Consequently, the FOI
Act deems that ASADA has refused your request.
However, s 15AC of the FOI Act al ows the Information Commissioner to extend the
processing time for an FOI request where the initial decision period has ended and the
agency or Minister has not provided the applicant with notice of a decision. ASADA has
applied for further time to finalise your request.
ASADA advised that they already extended the decision period, by a further period of 30
days, to al ow for consultation in accordance with s 15(6) of the FOI Act. This extended the
decision period to 5 July 2019.
ASADA attempted to obtain an agreement under s 15AA of the FOI Act for an extension of
time for six days to 11 July 2019 from you. ASADA did not receive a response from you.
As a delegate of the Information Commissioner, I am authorised to make decisions on
applications for extensions of time under s 15AC(5) of the FOI Act.
I have decided to grant ASADA further time of 14 days to 19 July 2019
to process your
request. My reasons fol ow:
• ASADA experienced delays in processing the request due to recent, unexpected
absence of key legal staff
• further time is required for ASADA to finalise the final stages in processing of the FOI
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9686
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
ABN 85 249 230 937
This extension of time under s 15AC of the FOI Act means that the deemed refusal is taken
never to have applied if ASADA makes a decision on your request by 19 July 2019. Such an
extension can only be granted once and cannot be extended by a variation.
I note that the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982
provides if an applicant is
not notified of a decision on a request within the statutory time limit (including any
extension of time), the agency or minister cannot impose a charge for providing access, even
if the applicant was earlier notified that a charge was payable (regs 5(2), (3)). This extension
under s 15AC of the FOI Act does not mean that charges can be reimposed and any deposit
you have paid should be refunded.
If you have any questions about this email, please contact me on (02) 9284 9686 or via email
email@example.com. In al correspondence please include OAIC reference number at the top of
Assistant Review and Investigation Adviser (Legal)
Freedom of Information Dispute Resolution
16 July 2019
If you disagree with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) decision
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 is not legal y 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/.
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
The OAIC has the power to investigate complaints about an agency’s actions under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). This is a separate process from asking for an
Information Commissioner review fol owing a decision made under the FOI Act. Complaints
usual y focus on how an agency has handled your FOI request or complied with other
obligations under the FOI Act, rather than the decision itself.
In some cases, the Information Commissioner's investigation of a complaint may lead to the
agency addressing the issues that you have complained about. In other cases, the
Information Commissioner may make suggestions or recommendations that the agency
should implement. The Information Commissioner can only make non-binding
recommendations as a result of a complaint. You and the agency will be notified of the
outcome of the investigation.
FOI complaints to the OAIC must be made in writing. Our preference is for you to use
the online FOI complaint form i
f at all possible.
Further information about how to make a complaint can be found published on our website: https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-complaints