� Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
FOi Reference: LEX2125
File No: 20/15968
11 August 2020
By email to: email@example.com
Dear Mr Timmins
Re: Freedom of Information (FOi) Request - request for waiver of charges
I refer to your current request for access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOi Act)
a copy of the audit report on Australia's engagement in key multilateral institutions
mentioned and summarised in the speech by the Minister to the National Security College
On 9 July 2020, you requested a waiver of the charges imposed for the processing of your FOi
request. I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOi Act to make decisions on the waiver
of charges for processing your request.
I have decided to reduce the charges by 50 per cent to $54.33.
Reasons for my decision
In considering whether to reduce or waive charges, section 29(5) of the FOi Act requires me to
take into account:
• whether payment of the charge would cause financial hardship, and
• whether giving access to the document is in the general public interest, or in the interest of
a substantial section of the public.
I may also take into account other factors as relevant.
In reaching my decision I have had regard to the factors that I must take into account under
section 29(5) of the FOi Act, and also the purpose of the charges regime under the FOi Act. I have
also taken into account the reasons provided by you in support of your request for waiver of the
You have submitted that there is a strong general public interest in access to the document you
seek, on the basis that access will enable transparency and accountability in the use of public
funds on issues that are of major significance to Australia's foreign policy. You have also submitted
that giving access will help inform the community of the Government's conduct on international
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affairs, contribute to debate on matters of public importance and enable scrutiny of performance
in the achievement of government policies and goals.
I accept that this matter may be of some public interest. However, I am not satisfied the giving of
access to the specific document in question would be in
the general public interest, nor of interest
to a substantial section of the public.
I note that you have indicated that while you have submitted your health care card and referred to
your finances having " ... taken a hammering ... ". You make reference to general financial hardship
in the context of the current economic climate but do not wish to make a "special case for
Charges are a vital component to the FOi process that make it sustainable and appropriately
balanced from a public policy perspective. Significant public resources are engaged in processing
non-personal FOi requests. Processing charges are desigried to ensure that the Australian
community recoups a proportion of the costs of processing these types of FOi requests, given that
processing such requests diverts significant resources from policy areas away from other priorities.
On the basis of the factors outlined above, I have decided not to waive the processing charges. I
am however of the view that a reduction of charges is appropriate and have decided to reduce the
charges by a rate of 50 per cent to $54.33.
Please note that at this stage in the FOi process, no decision has been made on whether the
documents you seek will be released or exempted under the provisions of the FOi Act. My decisi.on
relates only to the processing charges.
You now have 30 days within which to:
• pay the charges deposit of $20.00
• seek review of my decision (your review rights are enclosed); or
• withdraw your FOi request.
lfwe do not re.c eive a response from you as outlined above within 30 days of your receipt of
this letter, your request will be deemed to have been withdrawn, in accordance with section 29
of the FOi Act. Your review rights are attached.
Should you have any queries, or wish to discuss revising the terms of your request, please contact
me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section