This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Number of citizenship applicants in Melbourne metro councils who are waiting for citizenship ceremony'.

22 April 2021 
Suraj Gupta 
In reply please quote: 
FOI Request:      FA 21/03/00744 
File Number:       OBJ2021/8832 
Dear Suraj Gupta 
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision 
On 15 March 2020, 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 FOI Act. 

Scope of request 
You have requested access to the following documents: 
I would like to know the number of citizenship applicants who are waiting to complete 
the citizenship ceremony, residing in various Victorian councils (listed below). Please 
consider only  applicants who  were  approved on or  before 28/02/2021. Also, please 
split the numbers by each council. 
Councils: Banyule City Council, VIC Baw Baw  Shire Council, VIC Bayside City Council, 
VIC Boroondara City Council, VIC Brimbank City Council, VIC Cardinia Shire Council, 
VIC Casey City Council, VIC Central Goldfield Shire Council, VIC Darebin City Council, 
VIC Frankston City Council, VIC Glen Eira City Council, VIC Greater Dandenong City 
Council, VIC Greater Geelong City Council, VIC Hobsons Bay City Council, VIC Hume 
City Council, VIC  Kingston City Council, VIC  Knox City Council, VIC  Latrobe City 
Council, VIC  Manningham City Council, VIC  Maribyrnong City  Council, VIC 
Maroondah City Council, VIC Mitchell Shire  Council, VIC Monash City Council, VIC 
Moonee Valley City Council, VIC Moreland City Council, VIC Nillumbik Shire Council, 
VIC  Port Phillip City Council, VIC  Stonnington City  Council, VIC  Whitehorse City 
Council, VIC  Whittlesea City  Council, VIC  Wyndham City  Council, VIC  Yarra City 
Council, VIC Yarra Ranges Shire Council, VIC 

2 Lonsdale Street Me bourne VIC 3000 
PO Box 241 Melbourne VIC 3001 • Telephone: 03 8682 2452 • Fax:  • 


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 document or to amend or annotate records. 

Relevant material  
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:  
•  the terms of your request 
•  the document 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 
document to which you sought access 

Document in scope of request 
The Department has consulted with the relevant area of the business in relation to the 
documents you have requested access to and finds no relevant document holdings.  
The Department does not hold an existing discrete document that contains the data you 
are seeking. 
The Department has considered whether it  can extract this data in accordance with 
section 17(1) of the FOI Act.  
The obligation for retrieving or collating information stored in a computer system arises 
•  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 Department’s ordinary use of  computer systems  includes measures to produce 
regular reports on citizenship data; however the data you have requested is of a type 
that is not produced as part of this regular business reporting cycle.  
Collection Point Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2013] FCAFC  67 [20].   
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To compile the information you have requested into a discrete document would require 
that additional and extraordinary measures be undertaken. This is not what section 17 
of the FOI Act requires. Section 17 only requires a new document to be created when it 
is possible to do so using a computer or other equipment to extract data.  
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 level of 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  your request in a discrete form using a computer or other 
equipment ordinarily available to it. 
Having regard to your request and the types of document 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. 

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 your 
request and that no documents were in the possession of the Department on 15 March 
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 If you are unable to access the 
legislation through this website, please contact our office for a copy. 

Your Review Rights 
Internal Review 
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.   
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Applications for review should be sent to: 
By email to: 
By mail to: 
Freedom of Information Section 
Department of Home Affairs 
PO Box 25 
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 at   

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 at   
Position number 60097486 Elaine 
Authorised Decision Maker | Freedom of Information Section 
FOI and Records Management Branch 
Data Division | Strategy and Law Enforcement Group 
Department of Home Affairs 
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