PO Box 457
CANBERRA ACT 2601
13 January 2021
Freedom of Information Request - FOI 217/2020
I refer to your email of 4 December 2020 seeking access under the Commonwealth Freedom of
Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act) to:
On June 17, 2020 it was reported DTA were in the process of testing the Google-Apple API framework
'to see whether it could be implemented into COVIDSafe'. I am seeking to apply under the FOI Act for a
copy of the report that carries the results from that testing.
I am an authorised decision-maker under section 23 of the FOI Act. This letter sets out my decision on
your request for access.
Timeframe for processing your request
Your request was received by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) on 4 December 2020. The
statutory period for processing your request is 30 days. On 4 December 2020 the statutory period for
processing was extended for an additional 11 days under s 15AA of FOI Act.
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.
Following agency searches, I have identified one document relevant to your request. I have decided
to provide partial access to this document with some material removed under s s47E(d).
Reasons for My Decision
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1982 - SECT 47E
Public interest conditional exemptions--certain operations of agencies
A document is conditional y exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be expected to,
do any of the following:
a) prejudice the effectiveness of procedures or methods for the conduct of tests, examinations or audits
by an agency;
b) prejudice the attainment of the objects of particular tests, examinations or audits conducted or to be
conducted by an agency;
c) have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel by the
Commonwealth or by an agency;
d) have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency.
The information which has been removed from the documents under this section contains
confidential information on the negotiation position and intentions for the procurement of goods and
services by the DTA. To reveal this information would adversely affect the ability of the DTA to enter
into commercial arrangements as it would reveal opinions and other information which would be of
advantage to potential vendors, and put the Commonwealth and competitors at a disadvantage.
In addition, I have considered the mobile telephone numbers of the officers who are listed as contacts
in these briefs and found them to be conditional y exempt. When considering the release of any
information under the FOI Act we need to consider that the information is released to everyone. In
the case of a mobile telephone number it is not the policy of the DTA to provide these to members of
the public under any circumstances. If a member of the public wished to contact either of these
Senior Executive officers they could use the desk phone and email addresses published on the
Government Directory, but to have their mobile telephone numbers in the public domain would have
a substantial adverse effect on the efficient operations of the DTA if members of the public were to
contact these officers using these unpublished numbers.
I find that parts of this document are conditionally exempt under s 47E(d) of the FOI Act. Public Interest Test
Having formed the view that the information is of a kind to which section 47E(d) does apply, I am
required to consider whether disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest, I
Public Interest Arguments in favour of release:
− Applicants exercising their rights under the FOI Act
− Inform debate on a matter of public importance
− Scrutiny on the expenditure of public money
Public Interest Arguments against release:
− could reasonably be expected to prejudice an agency’s ability to obtain confidential
− could reasonably be expected to prejudice the competitive commercial activities of an agency
− could reasonably be expected to prejudice the management function of an agency
While the document in question are on the subject of a highly topical area of public interest the parts
which are conditional y exempt would have a severe impact on the ability of the DTA to conduct
negotiations and procurement of goods and services in a way that is fair to the Commonwealth and
third parties. This would have the effect of revealing negotiating positions and confidential
assessment of a suppliers products.
The desk phone and emails of Senior Executives in the DTA are already available online for members
of the public to use if they wish to contact. To include mobile phone numbers in the release would
not significantly advance the public interest in transparency and scrutiny on public administration, but
would have a significant prejudice for the management function of the agency if members of the
public were to use this information to contact them.
On balance the arguments against release outweigh the arguments in favour of release.
If you disagree with my decision, you can request an internal review made by the DTA or an external
review conducted by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
If you wish to seek an internal review of the decision, you must apply for the review in writing within
30 days of receiving this notice
An internal review will be conducted by a different officer from the original decision-maker. No
particular form is required to apply for review although it is helpful to set out the aspects of the
decision you disagree with and any reasons.
Alternatively, you can seek review of this decision by the Australian Information Commissioner
without first going to internal review. Your application must be made within 60 days of you receiving
this notice via their website.
If you are dissatisfied with the way the DTA have handled your FOI request, you can make a complaint
to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). The OAIC encourages complaints to
be made directly to the agency first so if you have any concerns please consider raising these with our
agency in the first instance.
More information about FOI reviews and complaints is available on the Office of Australian
Information Commissioner's website at https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/reviews-
If you have any queries about this notice, please contact the FOI team by email email@example.com.