15 April 2021
Ms Eleanor Davey BY EMAIL: email@example.com
In reply please quote:
Dear Ms Davey
Freedom of Information (FOI) request - Access Decision
On 23 March 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 FOI Act.
Scope of request
You have requested access to the following documents:
The number of times per year that (representatives of) the Department of
Home Affairs or its predecessor Departments held senior management
meetings with (representatives of) Save the Children Australia in relation to
the latter's contracted work in offshore processing centres in Papua New
Guinea and Nauru, from 2012 to 2016.
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.
6 Chan Street Belconnen ACT 2616
PO Box 25 Belconnen ACT 2616 Telephone: 02 6264 1111 Fax: 02 6225 6970 www.homeaffairs.gov.au
In reaching my decision I referred to the following:
the terms of your 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
Documents in scope of request
The Department has undertaken reasonable searches in relation to the documents you
have requested access to.
In summary, the searches undertaken by the relevant business areas in relation to your
Searching TRIM – the Department’s record-management system
Searching Enterprise Vault
The Department does not hold an existing discrete document that contains the data you
The Department also has considered whether it can extract the data to produce a
discrete document 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.
1 Collection Point Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation
 FCAFC 67 .
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To compile the information you have requested into a discrete document would require
a manual search of each relevant individual record and manual collation of the results.
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. It is not possible to generate a document containing the information you
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 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 to
your request and that no documents were in the possession of the Department
on 23 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
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 will 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 at https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-review-process.
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 email@example.com.
Yours sincerely Long
Position Number: 60045752
Authorised Decision Maker
Department of Home Affairs
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