2 November 2021
Mr Albert Frankaland
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr Frankaland
Initial Decision Letter – Your Freedom of Information Request
I refer to your email of 8 October 2021 to the National Library of Australia (NLA), seeking access to
documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1983 (FOI Act).
I confirm your request, as it currently stands, is for:
Details of all correspondence received via the Contact Trove Support webform (https://trove.nla.gov.au/contact-trove-support)
since June 2020 relating to positive feedback
relating to the Trove version update in June, 2020, and negative feedback relating to the Trove
version update in June, 2020.
Material taken into account
In making my initial decision, I have had regard to the following:
The term of your request
The documents to which you have sought access
Relevant provisions of the FOI Act
Advice from NLA staff with responsibility for matters relating to the documents to which
you have sought access.
The Australian Information Commissioner’s guidelines on FOI, Part 3, Version 1.7, June
2020 (OAIC Guidelines): https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-
Practical Refusal Reason
I advise that I am satisfied that a practical refusal reason exists in relation to your request, as the
work involved in processing your request would substantially and unreasonable divert the
resources of the NLA from its other operations: para 24AA(1)(a)(i) of the FOI Act.
Documents covered by your request
I advise that your request is framed broadly, as it covers ‘details of all
correspondence received via
the Contact Trove Support webform’ since June 2020 relating to feedback relating to the Trove
version update in June, 2020.
The NLA received over 3000 communications via the Contact Trove Support webform since June
2020, most of which contain feedback (both positive and negative) on the Trove version update in
June, 2020 (the Trove Modernisation Project). These communications will all need to be reviewed
to identify which parts of them fall under the scope of your request, i.e. documents/parts of
documents that provide feedback.
b. Identifying, locating and collating the documents in scope
I note that it would require significant time for NLA staff within the Collaboration Branch
(particularly the Trove Partnership Section) to identify, locate and collate all documents covered by
your request. I further note that if time was spent identifying, locating and collating these
documents, the Branch’s current workplan activities would be jeopardised, which include:
Responding to enquiries from the Partner organisations that contribute content to Trove or
seek to partner with the National Library to digitise content
Responding to enquiries from the Trove end-user community
Preparing and disseminating training materials, newsletters and webinars to the Trove
Administering the Community Heritage Grant program
Deciding to grant, refuse or defer access
Once documents falling within the scope of your request have been identified, located and
collated, they are provided to the FOI Officer, who will need to review every single document to
assess whether any information contained within those documents may be conditionally exempted
under the FOI Act, e.g. under s 47F for personal privacy.
Given that the NLA is a comparatively small Commonwealth agency with limited resources, the
NLA has one FOI Officer, who is also the NLA’s sole legal advisor. The FOI Officer role only
represents a small portion of their workplan. In addition to dealing with FOI requests, the legal
advisor role involves giving in-house legal advice, managing external legal matters, providing
briefing to the NLA Council on legal matters, progressing legal instruments for the NLA (for
example, Accountable Authority Instructions under the Public Governance, Performance and
Accountability Act 2013
Given the very substantial number of documents, reviewing the documents would require a
significant allocation of time by the NLA FOI officer. This means that their other responsibilities will
not be able to be fulfilled, which will negatively impact on the NLA’s current workplan.
d. Preparation of the decision and documents
If a decision is made to exempt part of a document where it falls under a conditional exemption, a
decision letter must be provided explaining reasons of the decision, and the documents must be
prepared for release. These involve:
reading again each document
identifying parts that needs exemption
drafting the decision
preparing edited copies of the documents for release including making redactions
Notifying you of the final decision and providing documents
I note that this step, in and of itself, does not involve significant work. However, due to the volume
of the documents, it may not be possible to arrange access via email. If that is the case, time
would be spent arranging an alternative method, for example, requesting a mailing address from
you, verifying your identify matches the person who emailed from the Right to Know website email
Request consultation process
I advise the FOI Act sets out a consultation process where a practical refusal reason exists. The
purpose of this process is to allow you the opportunity to revise your request should you wish. The
NLA will assist you in revising the scope of your request.
As per the notice provided to you in accordance with subsection 24AB(2), the consultation period
is 14 days after the date you are given the notice, during which you may contact the specified
Your request will be taken to have been withdrawn, if, by the end of the consultation period, you
contacted the specified contact person, or
indicated that you wish to:
withdraw the request, or
make a revised request, or
not revise the request.
Timeframe for providing you with our decision
The usual timeframe for processing an FOI request is 30 days after the day on which the request
is received. As your request was received on 8 October 2021, that period ends on 7 November
However, as we have now in the required consultation process, the 14 day consultation period is
disregarded in working out the 30 day period. If a revised request is agreed such that the practical
refusal reason no longer exists, Library staff will negotiate additional time with you to provide you
with the final decision letter.
For your information and consideration, as an alternative to providing you with the vast number of
documents under the FOI Act, the NLA proposes in due course to provide a summary of the
feedback the NLA received on the Trove Modernisation Project from members of the public, to be
provided to you and published on the NLA website for public access.
If you have any queries regarding any matters discussed above or throughout the consultation
process, please contact Angie Piao at email@example.com.