This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Please provide documents for number of proposed FSAMs in Victoria, Australia'.


  
 
4 June 2014 
 
Mr/Ms S McLaughlin 
Sent via email: mailto:[FOI #637 email] 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Our Ref:  FOI1314/62.03 
Dear Mr/Ms McLaughlin, 
 
FOI Application – 
 
I am writing in relation to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, 1982 (the FOI Act or the Act) and received by the 
Commonwealth Department of Communications (DoC) on 29 May 2014. That request sought the following: 
 
“I wish to obtain a document containing the number of proposed FSAMs and an approximate "Construction Instruction" for 
FSAMs for Victoria, Australia a) a contract instruction to commence "detailed design and field inspection work" has been 
issued to NBN Co's delivery partners ** b) a contract instruction to commence "build work... consistent with the completed 

Detailed Design Document" has been issued to NBN Co's delivery partners ** between 1st January 2014 up until  31st 
December 2014 for the purposes of the NBN Co Brownfields Fibre build. 
 
** as defined in Monthly Ready for Service plans”
 
 
On 30 May 2014, the DoC made a request to transfer this application to NBN Co Limited (NBN Co) under section 16 of the FOI Act. 
NBN Co accepted the transfer request on the same day. I note that your request is seeking general rollout information. In that regard, 
I would refer you to NBN Co’s website and in particular the when-do-I-get-it? webpage, which contains detailed information 
concerning the progress of the rollout. You may also wish to speak with our contact centre by calling 1800 OUR NBN (1800 687 626). 
 
Request to Clarify FOI Application 
Under section 3(1)(b) of the FOI Act, the public has a right to seek access to “documents”, rather than discrete bits of information. 
Drawing from the terms of the request above, it appears that your application is seeking information, rather than a document. Despite 
this point, section 17 of the FOI Act enables Government authorities to provide applicants with information, where such information is 
not available in a discrete written form and where the information is “ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored 
information”. As such, it may be possible to locate relevant information, presuming that it is in a readily extractable format, but subject 
to any relevant exemption claims, as outlined below. However, it is not clear what information you are seeking in relation to the phrase 
“proposed FSAMs”, nor in relation to the phrase “approximate construction instruction” as you appear to be referencing prospective 
instructions that have not yet been issued. 
 
As per section 15(2)(b) of the FOI Act, applicants are required to provide sufficient detail so as to enable an FOI officer to locate 
relevant documents. Based upon the above points, I would ask that you clarify the terms of this FOI request. Please feel free to 
contact me on the numbers below to discuss this application. In addition, I would ask that you consider the points made below in 
reformulating your FOI request. In addition, NBN Co recently released details of the coverage areas for 8 Victorian FSAMs in its 
Disclosure Log, found at the following link. It may be of assistance to refer to the language in that request to assist you in clarifying 
this application. Please also note that the legislative time frames for completing this FOI request will not commence until such time as 
those details are clarified. 
 
Background Information 
NBN Co’s approach to FOI matters is to liaise with applicants, so as to minimise processing fees incurred and to ensure that the 
company completes any search & retrieval, review and FOI decision-making as efficiently as possible. In that regard, I would refer you 
to NBN Co’s FOI processing charges policy, which is outlined at the following hyperlink: Submission to the Office of the Australian 
PHONE 
(02) 9926 1900 
FAX 
(02) 9926 1901 
EMAIL 
[email address] 
WEB 
www.nbnco.com.au 
LEVEL 11, 100 ARTHUR STREET, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060 
NBN Co Limited   ACN 136 533 741   © NBN Co 2013  
  

  
Information Commissioner Charges Review. In particular, NBN Co supports – and will generally apply – Recommendation 24 in the 
Hawke Review into FOI Legislation, (the Hawke Review), which suggests a 40-hour ceiling for all FOI processing charges. In the 
event that an FOI request is likely to exceed that ceiling, NBN Co will generally initiate a request consultation process, as per section 
24AB of the FOI Act.  
 
There is a possibility that documents within the scope of this request may relate to NBN Co’s commercial activities and would not be 
subject to the operation of the Act. In that regard, I refer you to section 7(3A) and Part II of Schedule 2 of the FOI Act, which outline 
the scope of NBN Co’s commercial activities exemption (the CAE). For your reference, the Office of the Australian Information 
Commissioner (the OAIC) completed a review decision in January 2012 (the Internode Decision), which provides background and 
guidance as to the application of the CAE to NBN Co. The Internode Decision may be found by clicking on the following link. The 
OAIC completed an additional review at the end of July 2013 – the Battersby Decision, which further clarified the scope of NBN Co’s 
CAE. While I am not making a formal decision nor have I begun a review of relevant documents, there is a possibility that documents 
falling within the terms of this FOI request may be subject to the CAE and other exemptions from release under the FOI Act. 
 
Clarifying FOI Applications 
It is generally recommend that FOI applicants limit their requests: 
 
  for documents relating to or held by specific officers within NBN Co; 
  to specific types of documents; 
  to a specific time frame; and 
  to exclude documents that are in draft form or are deliberative materials, legally privileged, commercially sensitive or contain 
confidential materials or could be subject to clear exemptions from release, etc.  I would refer you to section 31A of the FOI Act 
and following, which outlines relevant exemptions to release of documents under the legislation. 
 
As outlined above, some of the information requested may fall within various exemptions from release, including NBN Co’s CAE. This 
fact would likely – and significantly – increase the complexity and breadth of any access decision, along with the time required to 
make such a decision and, thereby, FOI processing fees. Again, I would refer you to NBN Co’s approach to processing charges, 
outlined above. In addition, your request may require NBN Co to review documents relating to NBN Co’s commercial dealings with its 
business partners, suppliers and, by extension, individual staff members, past staff members, third parties, as well Government 
departments in relation to policy and other issues. As a result, NBN Co may be required to undertake formal third party consultations 
with these parties. Those consultations could significantly increase the review and decision-making time needed to make an access 
decision under the FOI Act. 
 
Disclosure Log Notification 
In accordance with the FOI Act, NBN Co is required to publish documents provided to FOI applicants within 10 working days after 
release. The information you seek may be published in full (as released to you) or with some additional redactions as per section 11C 
of the FOI Act. For further information, visit our Disclosure Log on NBN Co’s website at www.nbnco.com.au/about-us/media/freedom-
of-information/disclosure-log.html. 

 
If you have any questions or need to discuss your FOI application, please feel free to contact the writer on Tel. (02) 8918 8596 or via 
email on [email address]. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
 
David J Mesman 
GM Legal - FOI and Knowledge Management 
PHONE 
(02) 9926 1900 
FAX 
(02) 9926 1901 
PAGE 
2 
EMAIL 
[email address] 
WEB 
www.nbnco.com.au 
LEVEL 11, 100 ARTHUR STREET, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060 
NBN Co Limited   ACN 136 533 741   © NBN Co 2013