Our reference: RQ20/03175
Agency reference: LEX2125
Mr Peter Timmins
Sent by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension of time under s 15AB
Dear Mr Timmins
On 31 August 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Department) applied
for further time to make a decision on your FOI request of 18 June 2020 under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982
(Cth) (the FOI Act).
This application is on the basis that the processing period is insufficient to deal adequately
with your request, because it is complex.
The Department advised that the statutory timeframe had already been extended to allow
for consultation in accordance with s 15(6) of the FOI Act.
also attempted to obtain your agreement under s 15AA of the FOI Act for an
extension of time. The Department advised that you refused the request for an extension.
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 considered the Department’s application and have decided to decline an extension as
I am not satisfied an extension of time is appropriate in this circumstance.
The effect of this decision is that the Department is deemed to have refused your FOI
request. You may wish to seek Information Commissioner review of the Department’s
deemed refusal of your request here.
Further information on applying for IC review
available on the OAIC website.
Despite having been deemed to have refused your request the Department continues to
have an obligation to provide a statement of reasons on the FOI request.
I note that the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019
provides if an applicant is
not notified of a decision on a request within the statutory time limit (including any
extension of time), the agency or minister cannot impose a charge for providing access, even
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9686
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
ABN 85 249 230 937
if the applicant was earlier notified that a charge was payable (regs 7(2), (3)). Any deposit you
have paid should be refunded.
If you would like to discuss this matter you may contact me on 02 9284 9745 or via email email@example.com.
In all correspondence please include the reference number at the
top of this letter.
Review Adviser (Legal)
Freedom of Information Dispute Resolution
18 September 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 will 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 if at al
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-