Our reference: RQ20/03519
Agency reference: 66929
Sent by email: email@example.com
Extension of time under s 15AB
On 30 September 2020, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (the
Department) applied for further time to make a decision on your FOI request of 29 August
2020 under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (the FOI Act).
This application was made on the basis that the processing period is insufficient to deal
adequately with your request, because it is complex and voluminous.
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.
The statutory timeframe had been suspended under ss 24AB and 31 of the FOI Act.
The Department attempted to obtain an agreement under s 15AA of the FOI Act for an
extension of time from you. The Department advised that you refused the request for a 30-
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 decided to grant the Department an extension of time under s 15AB(2) of the FOI Act
to 15 December 2020
. I am satisfied that the Department’s application for an extension of
time is justified, because the request is complex and voluminous. My reasons and
• the Department have advised that:
o on 31 August 2020, the Department advised your FOI request was
acknowledged and the Department sought your agreement to a s 15AA
extension of time from you
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9686
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
ABN 85 249 230 937
o on 10 September 2020, the Department issued you with a s 24AB to
which you responded with a revised scope
o on 11 September 2020, the revised scope and revised search minute was
sent to the relevant business area
o on 18 September 2020, the Department advised that you were sent an
acknowledgment regarding your revised scope
o on 22 September 2020, the Department advise the search minute was
received from the relevant business area
o on 24 September 2020, preliminary assessment of charges was sent to
o on 28 September 2020, the Department advised that payment was
received and a receipt was sent to you
• multiple FOI requests have been made to the Department relating to similar
subject matter and as such, the Department is currently processing an unusual
volume of FOI requests
• there are a number of requests that require input and assistance from the same
business area, aside from the business area’s usual business within the
• complexity in processing the requests arises from the similar subject matter
material be requested multiple times within close timeframes, and
• the Department has attempted to engage with applicants to assist in the efficient
processing of the various FOI requests.
If you have any questions about this letter, please contact me on (02) 9284 9721 or via email
firstname.lastname@example.org. In all correspondence please include OAIC reference
Freedom of Information
14 October 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 wil 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 i
f at all possible.
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-