7 May 2020
Ms E Davey
BY EMAIL: [email address]
In reply please quote:
Dear Ms Davey
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision
On 21 November 2019, 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:
Requesting the initial Letter(s) of Intent or Head(s) of Agreement for Save the
Children operations on Manus Island. The period in question is approximately
October 2012 to June 2013.
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)
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 • Telephone: 02 6264 1111 • Fax: 02 6225 6970 • www.homeaffairs.gov.au
Documents in scope of request
The Department has identified two documents as falling within the scope of your request.
These documents were in the possession of the Department on 21 November 2019 when
your request was received.
is a schedule which describes the relevant documents and sets out my
decision in relation to each of them.
The decision in relation to the documents in the possession of the Department which fall
within the scope of your request is as follows:
• Release two documents in part with deletions
Reasons for Decision
Detailed reasons for my decision are set out below.
Where the schedule of documents indicates an exemption claim has been applied to a
document or part of document, my findings of fact and reasons for deciding that the
exemption provision applies to that information are set out below.
6.1 Section 22 of the FOI Act – irrelevant to request
Section 22 of the FOI Act provides that if giving access to a document would disclose
information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request, it is possible for
the Department to prepare an edited copy of the document, modified by deletions, ensuring
that the edited copy would not disclose any information that would reasonably be regarded
as irrelevant to the request.
On 22 November 2019, the Department advised you that its policy is to exclude the
personal details of officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES), as well as the mobile
and work telephone numbers of SES staff, contained in documents that fall within scope of
an FOI request.
I have therefore decided that parts of documents marked ‘s22(1)(a)(i )’ would disclose
information that could reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to your request, and have
therefore prepared an edited copy of the documents, with the irrelevant material deleted
pursuant to section 22(1)(a)(i ) of the FOI Act.
The remainder of the documents have been considered for release to you as they are
relevant to your request.
6.2 Section 33 of the FOI Act – Documents affecting National Security, Defence or
Section 33(a)(i i) of the FOI Act permits exemption of a document if disclosure of the
document would, or could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the international
relations of the Commonwealth.
The phrase 'international relations' has been interpreted as meaning the ability of the
Australian Government to maintain good working relations with other governments and
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international organisations and to protect the flow of confidential information between them.
The expectation of damage to international relations must be reasonable in all the
circumstances, having regard to the nature of the information; the circumstances in which
it was communicated; and the nature and extent of the relationship. There must be real
and substantial grounds for the conclusion that are supported by evidence.
I consider that the release of the information marked 's33(a)(i i)' in the document(s) would,
or could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the Australian Government's
The information contained in parts of document 2 relate to the Manus Island Regional
Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
I consider releasing part of document 2 would adversely impact on the ability of the
Department to maintain good working relations with the Government of PNG. This
assessment is made considering the nature of the information contained within the
document and the current nature and extent of the Australia Government’s relationship with
the Government of PNG.
As such I have decided that the information redacted and marked 's33(a)(iii)
" is exempt
from disclosure under section 33(a)(i i) of the FOI Act.
6.3 Section 47 of the FOI Act – Documents disclosing commercially valuable
Section 47 provides that a document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act
would disclose any information having a commercial value that would be, or could
reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the information were disclosed.
In determining whether the information within the documents is commercially valuable, I
have had regard to the following factors:
• whether the information is known only to the person for whom it has value or, if it
is known to others, to what extent that detracts from its intrinsic commercial value
• whether the information confers a competitive advantage on the person to whom
it relates – for example, if it lowers the cost of production or allows access to
markets not available to competitors
• whether a genuine "arm's-length" buyer would be prepared to pay to obtain that
• whether the information is stil current or out of date (noting that out of date
information may no longer have any value)
• whether disclosing the information would reduce the value of a business operation
or commercial activity, reflected perhaps in a lower share price.
I consider that document numbered 2 contains information of a commercial value and that
there is a reasonable likelihood that value would be, or could reasonably be expected to
be, destroyed or diminished if the information were disclosed.
The information contained within the document is valuable for the purpose of carrying on
the commercial activities in which the entity is engaged. The information is relevant to the
profitability or viability of a continuing business operation. If the information were to be
released, it could enable a competitor to obtain a commercial advantage over the entity.
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I have therefore decided that parts of document numbered 2 are exempt from disclosure
under section 47 of the FOI Act.
A copy of the FOI Act is available at https:/ www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A02562.
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
wil 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
at https:/ www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-review-process.
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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10 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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SCHEDULE OF DOCUMENTS
REQUEST UNDER FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1982
: FA 19/11/01160
No Date of Description
Decision on release
1. 12/ 10/2012 Letter of Intent - Save the Children (SCA)
Release in part S22(1)(a)(ii)
2. 17/ 04/2013 Save the Children Heads of Agreement
Release in part S22(1)(a)(ii),
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