12 March 2021
BY EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
In reply please quote:
FOI Request: FA 21/02/00544
Dear FOI requester
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision
On 5 February 2021, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) received a request for
access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act).
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a decision on your request for access under the
Scope of request
You have requested access to the following documents:
Number (count) of citizenship applicants who haven’t receive any interview/test
date since lodgement of applications on or before 21/03/2020. Can you please
provide further breakdown of aforementioned list by country of origin and visa
subclass held by applicants before lodgement of citizenship application.
Authority to make decision
I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOI Act to make decisions in respect of
requests to access documents or to amend or annotate records.
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:
• the terms of your request
• the documents relevant to the request
• the FOI Act
• Guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner under section 93A
of the FOI Act (the FOI Guidelines)
• advice from Departmental officers with responsibility for matters relating to the
documents to which you sought access
5 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2617
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 • Telephone: 02 6264 1111 • Fax: 02 6225 6970 • www.homeaffairs.gov.au
Documents in scope of request
In accordance with section 17 of the FOI Act, the Department has considered whether it
can use its computer system to produce documents that contain information that falls within
the scope of your request.
The Department has undertaken reasonable searches in relation to the documents you
have requested access to however has been unable to produce any document of
In summary, the searches undertaken by the relevant business areas in relation to your
request included giving consideration to the ordinary operations of the business divisions
and whether the documents you seek can be drawn from the regular reporting that is
undertaken within these divisions.
The Department does not hold an existing discrete document that contains the data you
The Department has considered whether it can extract the data in accordance with section
17(1) of the FOI Act.
The obligation for retrieving or collating information stored in a computer system arises if:
• the Department could produce a written document containing the information using
a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving
or collating stored information, and
• producing a written document would not substantially and unreasonably divert the
resources of the agency from its other operations (s17(2))
In Collection Point Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation
the full bench of the Federal Court
decided that if a new computer program is required to be written to produce the document
then a computer is not being used in a manner that is ordinarily available to the agency
because an extraordinary step is required to be taken1.
The data you have requested is of a detail that cannot be reported on from the
Department’s computer systems. Either the data is not collected to that granular detail, or
it is not possible to extract the data using a computer system in a manner that is ordinarily
available to it.
I am satisfied that the Department is not able to produce a written document containing the
information you seek in a discrete form using a computer or other equipment ordinarily
available to it.
Having regard to your request and the types of documents that may fall within the scope of
your request I am satisfied that the searches conducted were extremely thorough and all
reasonable steps have been taken to locate any document relevant to your request.
1 Collection Point Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation
 FCAFC 67 .
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Section 24A of the FOI Act provides that the Department may refuse a request for access
to a document if all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document and the
Department is satisfied that the document does not exist.
I am satisfied that the Department has undertaken reasonable searches in relation to your
request and that no documents were in the possession of the Department on 5 February
2021 when your FOI request was received. As such, I am refusing your request based on
the application of section 24A of the FOI Act.
A copy of the FOI Act is available at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A02562.
If you are unable to access the legislation through this website, please contact our office
for a copy.
Your Review Rights
If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to apply for an internal review by the
Department of this decision. Any request for internal review must be provided to the
Department within 30 days of you being notified of the decision. Where possible please
attach reasons why you believe a review of the decision is necessary. The internal review
wil be carried out by an officer other than the original decision maker and the Department
must make a review decision within 30 days.
Applications for review should be sent to:
By email to: email@example.com
By mail to:
Freedom of Information Section
Department of Home Affairs
PO Box 25
BELCONNEN ACT 2617
Review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
You may apply directly to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for
a review of this decision. You must apply in writing within 60 days of this notice. For further
information about review rights and how to submit a request for a review to the OAIC,
please see Fact Sheet 12 "Freedom of information – Your review rights", available online
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Making a Complaint
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about action taken by the
Department in relation to your request.
Your enquiries to the Australian Information Commissioner can be directed to:
Phone 1300 363 992 (local call charge)
There is no particular form required to make a complaint to the Australian Information
Commissioner. The request should be in writing and should set out the grounds on which
it is considered that the action taken in relation to the request should be investigated and
identify the Department of Home Affairs as the relevant agency.
Contacting the FOI Section
Should you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the FOI Section
Position no. 60081621
Authorised Decision Maker
Department of Home Affairs
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