20 May 2021
Our Ref: FOI 2021/876.03
Request for Information
I am writing in relation to your correspondence to nbn
’s FOI Officer email address on 6 May 2021 seeking:
“the distance between my house and the node I will be/am contacted to”.
The Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act
) provides that members of the public have a general right of
access to specific documents, subject to certain exemptions. Under section 15(2)
of the FOI Act, a valid FOI
request must state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act and provide such information
concerning the requested documents as is reasonably necessary to enable nbn
to identify them, among other
things. nbn’s Commercial Activities Carve-out
I refer you to nbn’s
commercial activities carve-out (the CAC
) or carve-out from the application of the FOI Act and
refer you to section 7(3A)
and Part II of Schedule 2
of the FOI Act. Please be aware that documents that are in
relation to nbn’s
“commercial activities” are not subject to the operation of the FOI Act and would be exempt
from release. The following link summarises and provides general background information
commercial activities carve-out. That background document references two reviews by the Australian Information
Commissioner that considered nbn
’s CAC: the Internode Decision
(in January 2012) and the Battersby Decision
While I am not making a formal decision and have not reviewed any documents, I note that there is a distinct
possibility that documents/information falling within the terms of this request may be subject to the CAC, among
other exemptions from release. Notice and Scope of Request
Your request seeks the distance from your premises to a node. Could you please clarify whether you mean the
direct distance or the length of any cabling to from your premises to the relevant node?
As currently drafted, the terms of your request are not sufficiently clear and the particular documents that fall
within the parameters of the request are therefore not reasonably identifiable. Accordingly, your FOI request, in
its current form, is invalid. Until you clarify those terms, nbn
will not formally acknowledge your request, and the
statutory period for completing this request will not commence. In that regard, please inform me if there is a
specific document, or set of documents, which you are seeking – at least to the extent that you are able to
FOI Processing Period and Charges
The statutory period for processing an FOI application is 30 days, subject to any suspension of the processing
period or extension of the time for deciding the application. Please also note that nbn
may impose processing
charges in relation to FOI requests. You will be advised of any charges in relation to your request.
For your reference, processing charges for FOI applications are set by regulation and may be found at nbn
website – and, in particular, its FOI page.
The following hyperlink outlines nbn’s
approach to processing charges:
Submission to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Charges Review.
In particular, nbn
– and will generally apply – Recommendation 24 in the Hawke Review into FOI Legislation,
(the Hawke Review
a benchmark in reviewing FOI applications. For your reference, Recommendation 24 suggests a 40-hour ceiling for
all FOI processing charges. More information about charges under the FOI Act is available in Fact Sheet 7
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC
) website and in part 4 of the OAIC FOI Guidelines.
Proof of Identity
must ensure that it does not inadvertently release information and documents that could be the subject of
objections from third parties, based upon their personal, professional or business affairs. Your request seeks
information that would most likely include personal, professional or business information relating to an
identifiable individual or business. Before commencing the processing of any application, further to the
requirements outlined above, I am required to confirm your identity and links to the subject of this request, being
the premises referred to in your request.
You will be able to confirm your identity by providing to us an original certified copy of your driver’s licence (or
some other form of relevant identification) which includes your full name and address (per above), together with
an original certified copy of a local council rates notice or utility bill (e.g. your service provider’s invoice for your nbn
network service). Hard copies are required.
You may forward certified, hard copy documents to “nbn
FOI Officer, c/- Level 13/100 Mount Street, North
Sydney, NSW, 2060”.
If you wish to proceed with a formal FOI application, it will be necessary to confirm your identity and links to the
subject property of this request. In the interests of protecting your privacy, I suggest that we correspond directly
on that issue so that further personal information relating to you is not published online.
In accordance with the FOI Act, nbn
is required to publish documents provided to FOI applicants within 10
working days after release. The information you seek may be published in full (as released to you) or with some
additional redactions as per section 11C of the FOI Act. For further information and other details, please visit our Disclosure Log o
Please feel free to contact me on (02) 9031 3022 if you have any questions, or if you would like to discuss your
Yours sincerely Rohan Singh
Senior Legal Counsel
FOI Privacy & Knowledge Management