Our reference: RQ21/02484
Agency reference: FOI 21/22-0047
Sent by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension of time under s 15AC
On 31 August 2021, the National Disability Insurance Agency (the NDIA) advised this office
that it had not made a decision on your FOI request of 16 July 2021 within the statutory
period provided by the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (the FOI Act). Consequently, the
FOI Act deems that the NDIA has refused your request.
However s 15AC of the FOI Act allows the Information Commissioner to extend the
processing time for an FOI request where the initial decision period has ended and the
agency or Minister has not provided the applicant with notice of a decision. The NDIA has
applied for further time to finalise your request.
As a delegate of the Information Commissioner, I am authorised to make decisions on
applications for extensions of time under s 15AC(5) of the FOI Act.
I decided to grant the NDIA further time to 31 August 2021
to process your request. My
reasons and considerations follow:
• The NDIA has advised the OAIC that:
− the FOI request required the creation of a document under s 17 of the FOI Act
− the NDIA sought to provide a decision by the due date, however COVID-19 lockdowns
have impacted on agency operations, and
− the NDIA has processed the request and will provide you with a decision on
31 August 2021.
This extension of time under s 15AC of the FOI Act means that the deemed refusal is taken
never to have applied because the NDIA has now finalised your request and notified you of
1300 363 992
T +61 2 9284 9686
GPO Box 5218
F +61 2 9284 9666
Sydney NSW 2001
ABN 85 249 230 937
I note that the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019
provides if an applicant is
not notified of a decision on a request within the statutory time limit (including any
extension of time), the agency or minister cannot impose a charge for providing access, even
if the applicant was earlier notified that a charge was payable (regs 7(2), (3)). This extension
under s 15AC of the FOI Act does not mean that charges can be reimposed and any deposit
you have paid should be refunded.
If you did not receive a decision, or you disagree with the NDIA’s decision, you may wish to
seek Information Commissioner review here.
Further information on applying for IC review
available on the OAIC website.
If you have any questions about this letter, please contact me on (02) 9284 9783 or via email
at email@example.com. In all correspondence, please include the OAIC reference
number at the top of this letter.
Review and Investigation Advisor
FOI Regulatory Group
2 September 2021
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 will 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-