Attachment C – Statement of Reasons – FOI20/080
This document, when read in conjunction with the Schedule of Documents at Attachment B
provides information about the reasons I have decided not to disclose certain material to you in
response to your request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Public Interest Conditional Exemptions
An agency or minister can refuse access to a document or part of a document that is conditional y
exempt from disclosure under Division 3 of Part IV of the FOI Act.
One of the documents within the
scope of your request contains material exempt under section 47F (personal privacy) of the FOI Act.
Where a document is assessed as conditionally exempt, it is only exempt from disclosure if
disclosure would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest. The public interest test is weighted
in favour of giving access to documents so that the public interest in disclosure remains at the
forefront of decision making.
A single public interest test applies to each of the conditional exemptions. This public interest test
includes certain factors that must
be taken into account where relevant, and other factors which
be taken into account.
The FOI Guidelines issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner states the public
interest test is considered to be:
something that is of serious concern or benefit to the public, not merely of individual
not something of interest to the public, but in the interest of the public
not a static concept, where it lies in a particular matter will often depend on a balancing of
necessarily broad and non-specific, and
related to matters of common concern or relevance to al members of the public, or a
substantial section of the public.
Brief information about each of the conditional exemptions applied when making a decision about
disclosure of each of the documents to which you have requested access is set out below. Additional
information about each of these conditional exemptions can be obtained from the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner FOI Guidelines
available at: https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-
of-information/foi-guidelines/part-6-conditional-exemptions. Section 47F: Public interest conditional exemption—personal privacy
Section 47F of the FOI Act conditionally exempts material where disclosure would involve the
unreasonable disclosure of personal information of any person, including a deceased person. This
exemption is intended to protect the personal privacy of individuals.
Personal information means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an
individual who is reasonably identifiable whether the information or opinion is true or not, and
whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not. Personal information can
include a person’s name, address, telephone number, date of birth, medical records, bank account
Statement of Reasons: FOI Decision FOI20/080
details, taxation information, signature, or other information about a person, such as an opinion
held by, or about, the person.
A decision maker must consider the fol owing matters when determining whether disclosure would
the extent to which the information is well known
whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be (or to have been)
associated with the matters dealt with in the document
the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources, and
any other matters that the agency or minister considers relevant.
Other matters that may be considered by the decision maker include:
the nature, age and current relevance of the information
whether disclosure would cause stress or other detriment to the person to whom the
any opposition to disclosure expressed or likely to be held by that person
the fact that the FOI Act does not control or restrict any subsequent use or dissemination of
information disclosed, and
whether disclosure of the information might advance the public interest in government
transparency and integrity or would not achieve any public purpose.
In this case, the document at issue contains Professor Carney’s residential address. Having
considered each of the matters that must be considered under section 47F of the FOI Act, as well as
a number of other relevant factors, I am satisfied that it would be unreasonable to disclose Professor
Carney’s residential address through the FOI process. This information is not publicly known and I
believe that it would cause stress or other detriment to Professor Carney if it were disclosed.
Under the FOI Act, access to personal information must generally be disclosed unless doing so would
be contrary to the public interest.
In deciding whether to disclose the conditional y exempt material, I have considered the factors
favouring access set out in subsection 11B(3). I have not taken into account any of the irrelevant
factors listed in subsection 11B(4).
Of the factors favouring disclosure, I consider the release of the conditionally exempt material would
promote the objects of the FOI Act.
The FOI Act does not list any specific factors weighing against disclosure. However, the FOI
Guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner under section 93A of the FOI Act provides a non-
exhaustive list of factors against disclosure that the decision maker must consider in addition to any
other relevant factors.
Of the factors relevant against disclosure, I consider the release of the conditionally exempt material
could reasonably be expected to prejudice the protection of Professor Carney’s right to privacy.
On balance, I consider that the factors against disclosure outweigh the factors favouring access and
that access to the conditional y exempt material would be contrary to the public interest.
Accordingly, I have decided not to disclose the material that is conditionally exempt under
Statement of Reasons: FOI Decision FOI20/080