Internal review decision made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Decision and reason for decision of Tayla (Position Number 62217695), Information
Access Officer, Information Law Section, Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of
Date of primary decision:
31 August 2020
FOI reference number (Primary):
Internal review decision date:
16 October 2020
Internal review reference number:
Sent by email:
[FOI #6452 email]
Dear Mr Ashmore,
Freedom of Information Request: FOI 38355
1. The purpose of this letter is to give you a decision about your request for Internal Review
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
2. I have made a decision to vary the original decision made by Primary decision maker Molly,
Position Number 62213164, Legal Officer, Information Law Section. That decision was to
grant part access to one (1) document within the scope of your request.
3. I have instead, decided to:
a. grant full access to 1 document within the scope of your request.
4. The document that I have chosen to grant access to is set out in Schedule 1.
Authority to make this decision
5. I, Tayla (Position Number 62217695), Information Access Officer, Information Law Section,
am an officer authorised by the Secretary of the Department to make decisions about access
to documents in the possession of the Department in accordance with section 23(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982
6. On 2 July 2020 you made a request for access to a document in the possession of the
Department. Your request sought access to:
“…COMPENSATION FOR DEFECTIVE ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS (CDDA):
I request the fol owing data for 2019/2020, namely:
: The number of CDDA claims lodged,
: The number of CDDA claims accepted, and
: The total value of the amount paid out…”
7. As an extension of time was applied to process your request in accordance with section
15AA of the FOI Act, you were provided with a decision due on 31 August 2020.
8. On 24 September 2020, you requested an Internal Review of the primary decision. In your
request, you specifical y noted:
“…I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Veterans' Affairs's handling of my
FOI request 'Compensation for Defective Administration claims in 2019/20'.
I am seeking a review on two grounds, namely:
1. The information released is correctly listed under the heading, ‘Request details,’ (i.e. for
2019/20). The information released to me was headed, 'Information sought for the period 1 July
2018 to 31 December 2018.
This means the information released was for a period I did not request i.e. a 6-month period for the
first half of 2018/19 as opposed to the 12 months information I requested i.e. for the full 2019/20
2.Section 47F says in part, ‘A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would
involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person (including a deceased
As I requested the total value of amount paid for the financial year and was not seeking personal
information, I would suggest your refusal under s47F is incorrect…”
9. The Department has undertaken a further review of the documents and the business area’s
responses in relation to your primary request.
10. As no extensions of time have been applied to process this Internal Review, a decision on
your request is due by 26 October 2020.
Material taken into account
11. In accordance with section 26(1)(a) of the FOI Act, my findings on any material question of
fact, the material on which those findings were based and the reasons for my decision to
grant full access to the document fol ows.
12. In making my decision, I have had regard to the following factors:
the terms of your request;
the terms of your request for an Internal Review;
the types of information and documents that are in the Department’s possession;
the content of the document that fal within the scope of your request;
the availability of information relevant to your request, insofar as it determines the
practicality and ease in which the Department can create a document under section 17
of the FOI Act;
Sections 3, 11 and 11A of the FOI Act which give the Australian community a legally
enforceable right to obtain access to information held by the Government of the
Commonwealth. I also considered the following provisions of the FOI Act relevant to
- Section 11B Public interest exemption – factors
- Section 15 Request for Access
- Section 17 Requests involving use of computers etc (e.g. request for the
Department to create a document)
- Section 22 Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant material deleted
- Section 47F Public interest conditional exemptions--personal privacy
the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A
of the FOI Act (FOI Guidelines
13. A full extract of all FOI Act provisions used to make my decision are provided in Schedule 2
. Supporting or additional information
14. I have identified that there was a typographical error in the document that was created by
the Department under section 17 of the FOI Act, and provided to you in response to FOI
36785. This error is present in the title of the table outlining the Compensation for Defective
Administration Claims (CDDA
). The title in the documents says:
‘Information Sought for Period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018’
15. I note that the title above includes the incorrect date period. This is a typographical error
and the correct timeframe reflected by the information in the table is for the 2019/2020
financial year. I apologise for this error and have adjusted the title to reflect the correct date
period for which the information relates.
Access to documents
16. The document released to you in accordance with the FOI Act is enclosed. Information Publication Scheme
17. The Information Publication Scheme requires the Department to publish information
released in response to individual requests made under the FOI Act, except in specified
18. I am of the view that details of your request should be made available on the Department’s
FOI Disclosure Log. As such, details of your request will be published on the Department’s
FOI Disclosure Log which can be accessed at http://www.dva.gov.au/about-dva/freedom-
Please note that the Department does not publish details of
FOI applicants, it only publishes details of the FOI request and the documents released in
response to the request.
Your rights of review
19. Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the Office of the Australian Information
) to review my decision. An application for review by OAIC must be
made in writing within 60 days of the date of this letter, and be lodged in one of the
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
(02) 9284 9666
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
20. More information about your review rights under the FOI Act is available in Fact Sheet 12
published by the OAIC: http://oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-resources/freedom-
21. If you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Law
Section using the fol owing details:
Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of Veterans’ Affairs
GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601
(02) 6289 6337
Tayla (Position Number 62217695)
Information Access Officer
Information Law Section
Legal Services and Audit Branch
16 October 2020
Schedule of documents
16 October 2020
FOI reference number:
Document Date of
Page Decision Exemption
8 October CDDA Statistics 2019-2020
Schedule of relevant provisions in the FOI Act
The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by
the Government of the Commonwealth or the Government of Norfolk Island, by:
requiring agencies to publish the information; and
providing for a right of access to documents.
The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia’s representative democracy
by contributing towards the following:
increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting
better informed decision-making;
increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government’s
The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held
by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource.
The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be
performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to
information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.
Right of access
Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in
accordance with this Act to:
a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or
an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document.
Subject to this Act, a person’s right of access is not affected by:
any reasons the person gives for seeking access; or
the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what are his or her reasons for seeking
11A Access to documents on request
This section applies if:
a request is made by a person, in accordance with subsection 15(2), to an agency or
Minister for access to:
a document of the agency; or
an official document of the Minister; and
any charge that, under the regulations, is required to be paid before access is given
has been paid.
This section applies subject to this Act.
Other provisions of this Act are relevant to decisions about access to documents, for example the fol owing:
section 12 (documents otherwise available);
section 13 (documents in national institutions);
section 15A (personnel records);
section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted).
Mandatory access—general rule
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document in accordance with
this Act, subject to this section.
Exemptions and conditional exemptions
The agency or Minister is not required by this Act to give the person access to the
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is an exempt document.
Access may be given to an exempt document apart from under this Act, whether or not in response to a request
(see section 3A (objects—information or documents otherwise accessible)).
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document if it is conditionally
exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that
time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.
Note 1: Division 3 of Part IV provides for when a document is conditional y exempt.
Note 2: A conditional y exempt document is an exempt document if access to the document would, on balance, be
contrary to the public interest (see section 31B (exempt documents for the purposes of Part IV)).
Note 3: Section 11B deals with when it is contrary to the public interest to give a person access to the document.
Despite subsection (5), the agency or Minister is not required to give access to the
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is both:
a conditional y exempt document; and
an exempt document:
under Division 2 of Part IV (exemptions); or
within the meaning of paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt
document in subsection 4(1).
11B Public interest exemptions — factors
This section applies for the purposes of working out whether access to a conditional y
exempt document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest under
This section does not limit subsection 11A(5).
Factors favouring access
Factors favouring access to the document in the public interest include whether access to
the document would do any of the fol owing:
promote the objects of this Act (including al the matters set out in sections 3 and
Inform debate on a matter of public importance;
(c) promote effective oversight of public expenditure;
allow a person to access his or her own personal information.
The following factors must not be taken into account in deciding whether access to the
document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest:
access to the document could result in embarrassment to the Commonwealth
Government, or cause a loss of confidence in the Commonwealth Government;
access to the document could result in any person misinterpreting or
misunderstanding the document;
the author of the document was (or is) of high seniority in the agency to which the
request for access to the document was made;
access to the document could result in confusion or unnecessary debate.
In working out whether access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the
public interest, an agency or Minister must have regard to any guidelines issued by the
Information Commissioner for the purposes of this subsection under section 93A.
Requests for access (as related to the requirements for requests)
Persons may request access
(1) Subject to section 15A, a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency
or an official document of a Minister may request access to the document.
Requirements for request
The request must:
be in writing; and
(aa) state that the request is an application for the purposes of this Act; and
provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to
enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister, to identify it; and
give details of how notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant (for
example, by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by
(2A) The request must be sent to the agency or Minister. The request may be sent in any of the
delivery to an officer of the agency, or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the
address of any central or regional office of the agency or Minister specified in a
current telephone directory;
postage by pre-paid post to an address mentioned in paragraph (a);
sending by electronic communication to an electronic address specified by the
agency or Minister.
Requests involving use of computers etc
(including a request
in relation to which a practical refusal reason
is made in accordance with the requirements of subsection 15
(2) to an agency;
It appears from the request th
at the desire of the applicant is
for information that
is not available in discrete form in written documents
of the agency;
it does not appear from the request th
at the applicant w
ishes to be provided with
a computer tape or computer disk on which the information is recorded; and
could produce a written document
containing the information in
discrete form by:
(i) the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the
for retrieving or collating stored information; or
(ii) the making of a transcript from a sound recording held in the agency;
the agency s
hall deal with the request as
if it were a request
for access to a written
o produced and containing that information and, for that purpose, this Act
applies as if the agency
had such a document
in its possession.
is not required to comply with subsection
(1) if compliance would substantially and
unreasonably divert the resources of the agency fro
m its other operations.
Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted
This section applies if:
an agency or Minister decides:
to refuse to give access to an exempt document; or
that to give access to a document would disclose information that would
reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request for access; and
it is possible for the agency or Minister to prepare a copy (an edited copy) of the
document, modified by deletions, ensuring that:
access to the edited copy would be required to be given under section 11A
(access to documents on request); and
the edited copy would not disclose any information that would reasonably
be regarded as irrelevant to the request; and
it is reasonably practicable for the agency or Minister to prepare the edited copy,
having regard to:
the nature and extent of the modification; and
the resources available to modify the document; and
it is not apparent (from the request or from consultation with the applicant) that
the applicant would decline access to the edited copy.
Access to edited copy
The agency or Minister must:
prepare the edited copy as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b); and
give the applicant access to the edited copy.
Notice to applicant
The agency or Minister must give the applicant notice in writing:
that the edited copy has been prepared; and
of the grounds for the deletions; and
if any matter deleted is exempt matter—that the matter deleted is exempt matter
because of a specified provision of this Act.
Section 26 (reasons for decision) does not apply to the decision to refuse access to the
whole document unless the applicant requests the agency or Minister to give the applicant
a notice in writing in accordance with that section.
Decisions to be made by authorised persons
Subject to subsection (2), a decision in respect of a request made to an agency may be
made, on behalf of the agency, by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the
agency or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of the agency acting within the scope of
authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the
responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency.
A decision in respect of a request made to a court, or made to a tribunal, authority or body
that is specified in Schedule 1, may be made on behalf of that court, tribunal, authority or
body by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body or, subject to the
regulations, by an officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body acting within the scope
of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the
principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body.
Reasons and other particulars of decisions to be given
Where, in relation to a request, a decision is made relating to a refusal to grant access to a
document in accordance with the request or deferring provision of access to a document,
the decision-maker shall cause the applicant to be given notice in writing of the decision,
and the notice shal :
state the findings on any material questions of fact, referring to the material on
which those findings were based, and state the reasons for the decision; and
in the case of a decision to refuse to give access to a conditionally exempt
document—include in those reasons the public interest factors taken into account
in making the decision; and
Access must general y be given to a conditional y exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public
interest (see section 11A).
where the decision relates to a document of an agency, state the name and
designation of the person giving the decision; and
give to the applicant appropriate information concerning:
his or her rights with respect to review of the decision;
his or her rights to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner in
relation to the decision; and
the procedure for the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraphs (i)
and (ii); including (where applicable) particulars of the manner in which an
application for internal review (Part VI) and IC review (Part VII) may be
Section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 does not apply to a
decision referred to in subsection (1).
A notice under this section is not required to contain any matter that is of such a nature
that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that document to be an exempt
(see section 11A).
Public interest conditional exemption
Public interest conditional exemption—personal privacy
A document is conditional y exempt if its disclosure under this Act would involve the
unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person (including a deceased
In determining whether the disclosure of the document would involve the unreasonable
disclosure of personal information, an agency or Minister must have regard to the following
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;
any other matters that the agency or Minister considers relevant.
Subject to subsection (5), subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a
person for access to a document by reason only of the inclusion in the document of matter
relating to that person.
Access given to qualified person instead
Subsection (5) applies if:
a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document of the agency,
or an official document of the Minister, that contains information concerning the
applicant, being information that was provided by a qualified person acting in his or
her capacity as a qualified person; and
it appears to the principal officer of the agency or to the Minister (as the case may
be) that the disclosure of the information to the applicant might be detrimental to
the applicant’s physical or mental health, or well-being.
The principal officer or Minister may, if access to the document would otherwise be given
to the applicant, direct that access to the document, so far as it contains that information,
is not to be given to the applicant but is to be given instead to a qualified person who:
carries on the same occupation, of a kind mentioned in the definition of qualified
person in subsection (7), as the first-mentioned qualified person; and
is to be nominated by the applicant.
The powers and functions of the principal officer of an agency under this section may be
exercised by an officer of the agency acting within his or her scope of authority in
accordance with arrangements referred to in section 23.
In this section:
qualified person means a person who carries on, and is entitled to carry on, an occupation
that involves the provision of care for the physical or mental health of people or for their
well-being, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes any of the
a medical practitioner;
a social worker.
Note: Access must general y be given to a conditional y exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public
interest (see section 11A).