Our reference: RQ20/01254
Agency reference: 2020/0016
Mr John Smith
Sent by email: [FOI #6163 email]
Extension of time under s 15AB
Dear Mr Smith
On 18 March 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (the AAT) applied for further time to
make a decision on your FOI request of 17 February 2020 under the Freedom of Information
(Cth) (the FOI Act).
This application was made on the basis that the processing period is insufficient to deal
adequately with your request, because it is complex and voluminous.
The statutory timeframe had been suspended under s 24AB of the FOI Act.
Contact with you
On 23 March 2020, my colleague Ms Tahnee De Souza wrote to you to seek your view on the
AAT’s application. Ms De Souza invited you to provide any comments by 25 March 2020. The
responses you provided to those inquiries did not relate to this extension of time
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 AAT an extension of time under s 15AB(2) of the FOI Act to
20 April 2020
. I am satisfied that the AAT’s application for an extension of time is justified,
because the request is complex and voluminous. My reasons follow:
• the AAT has consulted with you under s 24AB of the FOI Act and has given you two
opportunities to narrow your request
• whilst the request has been narrowed, there are stil aspects of this request which
are complex and voluminous
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9686
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
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• further consultation is required, particularly as the request is likely to capture
personal information and business information
• part 3 of this request involves retrieving information from the AAT’s finance database
which is not designed to extract the particular information which has been requested
• parts 5, 6 and 8 of this request involve searches of the inboxes of individual AAT staff
and will also involve retrieving archived emails which the AAT’s IT section has
advised will require restoration of backup tapes.
If you have any questions, please contact me via [email address]. In all
correspondence please include the OAIC reference RQ20/01254.
Assistant Director (A/g)
Freedom of Information
2 April 2020
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 legally correct. You can make this
application under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
The Court wil 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:
For FOI applicants:
How to make an FOI request: Extensions of time
For agencies and ministers: Guidance and advice: Extension of time for processing
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 following a decision made under the FOI Act. Complaints
usually 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/reviews-and-complaints/make-an-foi-