This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Answer to Senate Question on Notice and change in calculation methods.'.

FOI 47408 
Decision and Statement of reasons issued under the Freedom of 
Information Act 1982  

Decision and reason for decision of Aleen (Position Number 62329528), Information Law 
Section, Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

Alan Ashmore 
Decision date: 
10 February 2022 
FOI reference number: 
FOI 47408 
Sent by email: 
Dear Mr Ashmore, 
Freedom of Information Request: FOI 47408  
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Department) has undertaken a reasonable search of its 
records and has identified ten (10) documents relevant to your request.  
I have made a decision to grant full access to five (5) documents, and grant access in part to 
five (5) documents. 
The documents that I have chosen to grant access in part are set out in Schedule 1, together 
with applicable exemption provisions. Where I have decided to grant access in part, I have 
provided access to an edited copy of the documents, modified by deletions in accordance 
with section 22(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).  
Authority to make decision 
I, Aleen (Position Number 62329528), Information Access Officer, Information Law Section, 
am an officer authorised by the Secretary of the Department to make decisions about access 
to documents in the possession of the Department in accordance with section 23(1) of the 
FOI Act.  

On 11/01/2022, you made a request for access to documents in the possession of the 
Department. Your request sought access to documents as follows: 
“As I have been unable to find a response to questions on Notice from Senator Ayres 
on the Senate website I am seeking the Departments response to Senator Ayres, “ 
Could you on notice provide that comparison, with the caveat that you've changed 
the methodology, for this year and last year on error rates, and high-impact error 
rates as well?  
All correspondence, emails etc. associated with the change in calculation of high 
impact errors where Ms Cole states, “where we have instituted a more transparent 
and straightforward methodology in our QA rates from this year onwards.” 

As no extensions of time have been applied to process your request, a decision on your 
request is due by 10 February 2022. 
I have decided not to impose a charge in relation to this request, in accordance with 
Regulation 8 of the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019. 
Material taken into account  
In accordance with section 26(1)(a) of the FOI Act, my findings on any material question of 
fact, the material on which those findings were based and the reasons for my decision to 
grant partial access to the documents follows. 
I have taken the following material into account in making my decision: 
  the terms of your request; 
  the types of information and documents that are in the Department’s possession; 
  the content of the document that fall within the scope of your request; 
  Sections 3, 11 and 11A of the FOI Act which give the Australian community a legally 
enforceable right to obtain access to information held by the Government of the 
Commonwealth. I also considered the following provisions of the FOI Act relevant to 
my decision:  
-  Section 11B  Public interest exemption – factors 

-  Section 15  Request for Access 
-  Section 22   Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant material deleted 
-  Section 24A  Requests may be refused if documents cannot be found, do not exist 
or have not been received 
-  Section 47E  Public interest conditional exemptions--certain operations of agencies 
-  Section 47F  Public interest conditional exemptions--personal privacy 
  the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A 
of the FOI Act (FOI Guidelines); and 
10.  A full extract of all FOI Act provisions used to make my decision are provided in Schedule 2.  
Reasons for decision  
11.  I have decided to grant access to documents within the scope of your request, subject to the 
following exemptions in accordance with the FOI Act: 
Requests may be refused if documents cannot be found, do not exist or have not been received 
(section 24A) 
12.  Section 24A(1) of the FOI Act provides that an agency or Minister may refuse a request for 
access to a document if: 
(a)  all reasonable steps have been taken to find a document; and 
(b) the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document: 
i.  is in the agency’s or Minister’s possession but cannot be found; or 
ii.  does not exist. 
13.  I have decided to refuse parts of your request in accordance with section 24A(1)(b)(ii) of the 
FOI Act, on the basis that the requested document does not exist.  
14.  I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to find information relevant to your 
request, having regard to:  
  the terms of your request; 
  the subject matter of the document; 
  the Department’s current and past file management and record practices; and 

  the individuals and areas within the Department who may be able to assist with the 
location of the information you seek access to. 
15.  Part 1 of your request seeks access to the Department’s response to the Question on Notice 
(QoN) from Senator Ayres.  
16.  I consulted with the Department’s Client Benefits Division (CBD) in relation to your request. 
CBD advised that the Department does not hold any documents responsive to this part of 
your request, because the relevant line of questioning was settled during the hearing.  
17.  The Department accepts that Hansard does record a QoN being made in the following terms 
“Could you on notice provide that comparison, with the caveat that you've changed the 
methodology, for this year and last year on error rates, and high-impact error rates as 
well?”. However, this QoN was ultimately not included in the list of questions taken on 
notice by the Department, because the line of questioning was settled earlier in the hearing 
in evidence provided by Ms Cole immediately after Senator Ayres’ question. An extract of 
this line of questioning may be found on page 174 of the transcript of the 2020-2021 Budget 
estimates from 26 October 2020. The relevant extract can also be found within Document 9 
of Schedule 1 and at the following website address:
18.  The Department followed up with the Senate Estimate Committee in relation to this 
question, and was advised that the list of QoNs (which did not include this question) was 
complete. On that basis, the Department was not required to answer this question after the 
19.  Accordingly, I am satisfied that the Department does not hold a document which responds 
to this part of your request as such a document does not exist.  
Public interest conditional exemptions--certain operations of agencies (section 47E) 
20.  Section 47E of the FOI Act provides that a document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure 
would, or could reasonably be expected to, do any of the following: 

prejudice the effectiveness of procedures or methods for the conduct of tests, 
examinations or audits by an agency; 
prejudice the attainment of the objects of particular tests, examinations or audits 
conducted or to be conducted by an agency; 
have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel 
by the Commonwealth, by Norfolk Island or by an agency; 
have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the 
operations of an agency. 
21.  I have redacted the surnames and contact details of non-Senior Executive staff members 
within the documents to give effect to this conditional exemption, other than the names of 
those non-Senior Executive staff members whose contacts details you already have or where 
they are already known to you. 
22.  The Department’s role is to provide support and information to veterans and their 
dependents and other categories of people. It is important that the Department is able to 
continue to provide these services and to carry out the other legislative functions an 
administrative and operational processes required of them. Certain processes and specific 
channels of communication have been implemented which enable clients and other relevant 
stakeholders to contact the Department in a way that ensures all Departmental resources 
are managed as efficiently as possible 
23.  I consider that release of the exempt information in these circumstances would adversely 
affect the Department as the established lines of communication could then be bypassed. It 
is reasonable to expect that this would disrupt and adversely affect the operations of the 
24.  Further, the release of this information could have a substantial adverse effect on the 
management or assessment of personnel as well as an adverse effect on the proper and 
efficient conduct of the operations of the agency including the inability of the Department to 
retain staff or effectively manage the wellbeing and safety of our staff. Relevantly, some 
staff have been targeted, insulted or harassed based on disclosure of their details. This 
presents challenges in managing the welfare of staff and can affect the ongoing 
management and retention of personnel by the Department. Consequently, in these 
circumstances, it would not be in the public interest to release this information. 

25.  Accordingly, I have decided that parts of the documents listed as exempt in accordance with 
this provision in Schedule 1, meet the criteria for this conditional exemption. Where a 
document is assessed as conditionally exempt, access must be given subject to the public 
interest test in accordance with section 11A(5) of the FOI Act. 
Application of the public interest test: 
26.  Section 11A(5) provides that an agency must give the person access to the document if it is 
conditionally exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the 
document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.   
27.  In order to assess whether release of the exempt material would be contrary to the public 
interest, I considered the following factors which favour disclosure: 
disclosure would promote the objects of the FOI Act, including: 
28.  I also considered the following factors which do not favour disclosure: 
disclosure would, or could reasonable be expected to, prejudice the effectiveness 
of procedures or methods for the conduct of tests, examinations or audits by an 
disclosure would, or could reasonably be expected to, have a substantial adverse 
effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency. 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the management function of 
an agency; and 
29.  I am satisfied that no irrelevant factor has been considered, as set out in section 11B(4) of 
the FOI Act.  
30.  On balance, I consider the public interest factors against disclosure to be more persuasive 
than the public interest factors favouring disclosure. I am satisfied that the public interest is 
to withhold the exempt material.  

Public interest conditional exemptions--personal privacy (section 47F) 
31.  Section 47F of the FOI Act provides that a document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure 
would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person 
(including a deceased person).  
32.  Section 4 of the FOI Act provides that personal information has the same meaning as in the 
Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). Personal information is defined in section 6 of the Privacy Act 
..information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is 
reasonably identifiable: 
whether the information or opinion is true or not; 
whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.  
33.  The elements of ‘personal information’ are: 
it relates only to a natural person (not, for example, a company); 
it says something about the individual; 
 it may be in the form of an opinion, it may be true or untrue, and it may form 
part of a database; 
the individual’s identity is known or is reasonably ascertainable using the 
information in the document. 
34.  If information is personal information, it will be conditionally exempt if disclosure would be 
‘unreasonable’.  In considering whether disclosure would be unreasonable, section 47F(2) of 
the FOI Act requires me to take into account: 
the extent to which the information is well known; 
whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be (or to have 
been) associated with the matters dealt with in the document; 

the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources; and 
any other matter I consider relevant. 
35.  Documents 6, 7, 8 and 9 contain the surnames and contact details of non-Senior Executive 
staff members. Release of this information would identify these individual staff members. 
Further as noted above, some staff have been targeted, insulted or harassed based on 
disclosure of their details. I therefore consider that this information meets the definition of 
personal information and that it would be unreasonable to release this material.  
36.  Accordingly, I have decided that the parts of documents which are listed as exempt in 
accordance with this provision in Schedule 1, meet the criteria for conditional exemption. 
Where a document is assessed as conditionally exempt, access must be given subject to the 
public interest test in accordance with section 11A(5).  
Application of the public interest test: 
37.  Section 11A(5) provides that an agency must give the person access to the document if it is 
conditionally exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the 
document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.   
38.  In order to assess whether release of the exempt material would be contrary to the public 
interest, I considered the following factors which favour disclosure: 
disclosure would promote the objects of the FOI Act, including: 
39.  I also considered the following factors which do not favour disclosure: 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the fair treatment of 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of an individual or 
group of individuals; 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the management function of 
an agency; and 
40.  I am satisfied that no irrelevant factor has been considered, as set out in section 11B(4) of 
the FOI Act.  

41.  On balance, I consider the public interest factors against disclosure to be more persuasive 
than the public interest factors favouring disclosure. I am satisfied that the public interest is 
to withhold the exempt material.  
Delete exempt or irrelevant material from documents and provide access to edited copies 
(section 22) 
42.  The Department may refuse access to a document on the grounds that it is exempt. If so, the 
Department must consider whether it would be reasonably practicable to prepare an edited 
copy of the document for release, that is, a copy with relevant deletions made under 
section 22 of the FOI Act. The Department is under the same obligation to consider 
preparing an edited copy of a document by removing information that would reasonably be 
regarded as irrelevant (or out of scope) to the request. 
43.  As noted above I have identified material within the documents that is subject to exemption 
under the FOI Act. I have also identified material within the documents that falls outside of 
the scope of your request.  
44.  On this basis, I have prepared the documents for release by removing this exempt and  
irrelevant material in accordance with section 22 of the FOI Act. The material that has been 
edited for release is marked within the documents as well as at Schedule 1
45.  A full extract of all FOI Act provisions used to make my decision are provided in Schedule 2.   
Access to documents 
46.  The documents released to you in accordance with the FOI Act are enclosed. 
Information Publication Scheme 
47.  The Information Publication Scheme requires the Department to publish information 
released in response to individual requests made under the FOI Act, except in specified 
48.  I am of the view that details of your request should be made available on the Department’s 
FOI Disclosure Log. As such, details of your request will be published on the Department’s 
FOI Disclosure Log which can be accessed at
information/foi-disclosure-log. Please note that the Department does not publish details of 
FOI applicants, it only publishes details of the FOI request and the documents released in 
response to the request. 

Your rights of review 
49.  If you are dissatisfied with my decision, you may apply for internal review or request the 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) review my decision. We 
encourage you to seek internal review as a first step as it may provide a more rapid 
resolution of your concerns.  
Internal review 
50.  Under section 54 of the FOI Act, you may apply in writing to the Department for an Internal 
Review of my decision. The Internal Review application must be made within 30 days of the 
date of this letter. Where possible please attach reasons why you believe review of the 
decision is necessary. The internal review will be carried out by another officer within 30 
51.  You can make your application for Internal Review in one of the following ways: 
Legal Services and Audit Branch, Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601 
(02) 6289 6337 
OAIC review  
52.  Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the OAIC to review my decision. An 
application for review by OAIC must be made in writing within 60 days of the date of this 
letter, and be lodged in one of the following ways: 
Director of FOI Dispute Resolution 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001 
(02) 9284 9666 
1300 363 992 
53.  More information about your review rights under the FOI Act is available in Fact Sheet 12 
published by the OAIC:

Contact us 
54.  If you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Law 
Section using the following details: 
Information Law, Legal Services and Audit Branch  
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601 
(02) 6289 6337 
1800 838 372 
Yours sincerely, 
Aleen (Position Number 62329528) 
Information Access Officer 
Information Law Section 
Legal Services and Audit Branch 
10 February 2022 

FOI 47408 
Schedule 1 
Schedule of documents  
Alan Ashmore 
Decision date: 

10 February 2022 
FOI reference number: 

FOI 47408 

Document  Date of 
Document description 
Page  Decision  Exemption 
reference  document 

ARC - Committee Submission - Compensation QA 
1-4  Full 
Program 2019-20 and update on Quality Online (QOL) 

Attachment B - Work Element Calculation Comparison 
5-8  Full 

EMB paper (Dec2019) - talking points - Compensation 
9-10  Full 
Quality Assurance Reporting 2019-20 

EMB paper (Dec2019) - Compensation Quality Assurance  11-15  Full 
Reporting 2019-20 

Client Services Committee (Oct 2019) - Compensation 
16-18  Full 
Quality Assurance Reporting 2019-20 

EMB Minutes (Dec2019) - Compensation Quality 
19-30  Partial  S 47E, s 
Assurance Reporting 2019-20 
Access  47F 

Att A Draft CSC Minutes 28 October 2019 
31-33  Partial  S 47E, s 
Access  47F 

ENDORSED  CSC Minutes 5 December 2019 v0.1(3) 
34-37  Partial  S 47E, s 
Access  47F 

Various Emails 
38-51  Partial  s 47E, s 
Access  47F 
Various Emails in Relation to Part 1 of the Request 
52-56  Partial  S 47E, s 
Access  47F 

FOI 47408 
Schedule 2 
Schedule of relevant provisions in the FOI Act  
The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by 
the Government of the Commonwealth or the Government of Norfolk Island, by: 
requiring agencies to publish the information; and 
providing for a right of access to documents. 
The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia’s representative democracy 
by contributing towards the following: 
increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting 
better informed decision-making; 
increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government’s 
The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held 
by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource. 
The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be 
performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to 
information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost. 
Right of access 
Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in 
accordance with this Act to: 
a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or 
an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document. 
Subject to this Act, a person’s right of access is not affected by: 
any reasons the person gives for seeking access; or 
the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what are his or her reasons for seeking 
11A    Access to documents on request 
This section applies if: 
a request is made by a person, in accordance with subsection 15(2), to an agency or 
Minister for access to: 
a document of the agency; or 
an official document of the Minister; and 
any charge that, under the regulations, is required to be paid before access is given 
has been paid. 
This section applies subject to this Act. 
Other provisions of this Act are relevant to decisions about access to documents, for example the following: 
section 12 (documents otherwise available); 
section 13 (documents in national institutions); 
section 15A (personnel records); 
section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted). 

Mandatory access—general rule 
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document in accordance with 
this Act, subject to this section. 
Exemptions and conditional exemptions 
The agency or Minister is not required by this Act to give the person access to the 
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is an exempt document. 
Access may be given to an exempt document apart from under this Act, whether or not in response to a request 
(see section 3A (objects—information or documents otherwise accessible)). 
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document if it is conditionally 
exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that 
time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest. 
Note 1:  Division 3 of Part IV provides for when a document is conditionally exempt. 
Note 2:  A conditionally exempt document is an exempt document if access to the document would, on balance, be 
contrary to the public interest (see section 31B (exempt documents for the purposes of Part IV)). 
Note 3:  Section 11B deals with when it is contrary to the public interest to give a person access to the document. 
Despite subsection (5), the agency or Minister is not required to give access to the 
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is both: 
a conditionally exempt document; and 
an exempt document: 
under Division 2 of Part IV (exemptions); or 
within the meaning of paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt 
document in subsection 4(1). 
Public interest exemptions — factors 
This section applies for the purposes of working out whether access to a conditionally 
exempt document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest under 
subsection 11A(5).  
This section does not limit subsection 11A(5).  
Factors favouring access  
Factors favouring access to the document in the public interest include whether access to 
the document would do any of the following:  
promote the objects of this Act (including all the matters set out in sections 3 and 
Inform debate on a matter of public importance;  
promote effective oversight of public expenditure;  
allow a person to access his or her own personal information.  
Irrelevant factors  
The following factors must not be taken into account in deciding whether access to the 
document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest:  
access to the document could result in embarrassment to the Commonwealth 
Government, or cause a loss of confidence in the Commonwealth Government;  
access to the document could result in any person misinterpreting or 
misunderstanding the document;  
the author of the document was (or is) of high seniority in the agency to which the 
request for access to the document was made;  
access to the document could result in confusion or unnecessary debate.  

In working out whether access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the 
public interest, an agency or Minister must have regard to any guidelines issued by the 
Information Commissioner for the purposes of this subsection under section 93A.  
Requests for access (as related to the requirements for requests) 
Persons may request access  
Subject to section 15A, a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency 
or an official document of a Minister may request access to the document.  
Requirements for request  
The request must:  
be in writing; and  
state that the request is an application for the purposes of this Act; and  
provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to 
enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister, to identify it; and  
give details of how notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant (for 
example, by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by 
electronic communication).  
(2A)    The request must be sent to the agency or Minister. The request may be sent in any of the 
following ways:  
delivery to an officer of the agency, or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the 
address of any central or regional office of the agency or Minister specified in a 
current telephone directory;  
postage by pre-paid post to an address mentioned in paragraph (a);  
sending by electronic communication to an electronic address specified by the 
agency or Minister. 
Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted 
This section applies if: 
an agency or Minister decides: 
to refuse to give access to an exempt document; or 
that to give access to a document would disclose information that would 
reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request for access; and 
it is possible for the agency or Minister to prepare a copy (an edited copy) of the 
document, modified by deletions, ensuring that: 
access to the edited copy would be required to be given under section 11A 
(access to documents on request); and 
the edited copy would not disclose any information that would reasonably 
be regarded as irrelevant to the request; and 
it is reasonably practicable for the agency or Minister to prepare the edited copy, 
having regard to: 
the nature and extent of the modification; and 
the resources available to modify the document; and 
it is not apparent (from the request or from consultation with the applicant) that 
the applicant would decline access to the edited copy. 
Access to edited copy 
The agency or Minister must: 
prepare the edited copy as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b); and 
give the applicant access to the edited copy. 

Notice to applicant 
The agency or Minister must give the applicant notice in writing: 
that the edited copy has been prepared; and 
of the grounds for the deletions; and 
if any matter deleted is exempt matter—that the matter deleted is exempt matter 
because of a specified provision of this Act. 
Section 26 (reasons for decision) does not apply to the decision to refuse access to the 
whole document unless the applicant requests the agency or Minister to give the applicant 
a notice in writing in accordance with that section. 
Decisions to be made by authorised persons 
Subject to subsection (2), a decision in respect of a request made to an agency may be 
made, on behalf of the agency, by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the 
agency or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of the agency acting within the scope of 
authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the 
responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency. 
A decision in respect of a request made to a court, or made to a tribunal, authority or body 
that is specified in Schedule 1, may be made on behalf of that court, tribunal, authority or 
body by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body or, subject to the 
regulations, by an officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body acting within the scope 
of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the 
principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body. 
Requests may be refused if documents cannot be found, do not exist or have not been received  
Document lost or non-existent  
An agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if:  
all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document; and  
the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document:  
is in the agency's or Minister's possession but cannot be found; or  
does not exist.  
Document not received as required by contract  
An agency may refuse a request for access to a document if:  
in order to comply with section 6C, the agency has taken contractual measures to 
ensure that it receives the document; and  
the agency has not received the document; and  
the agency has taken all reasonable steps to receive the document in accordance 
with those contractual measures 
Reasons and other particulars of decisions to be given 
Where, in relation to a request, a decision is made relating to a refusal to grant access to a 
document in accordance with the request or deferring provision of access to a document, 
the decision-maker shall cause the applicant to be given notice in writing of the decision, 
and the notice shall: 
state the findings on any material questions of fact, referring to the material on 
which those findings were based, and state the reasons for the decision; and 
in the case of a decision to refuse to give access to a conditionally exempt 
document—include in those reasons the public interest factors taken into account 
in making the decision; and 
Access must generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public 
interest (see section 11A). 
where the decision relates to a document of an agency, state the name and 
designation of the person giving the decision; and 

give to the applicant appropriate information concerning: 
his or her rights with respect to review of the decision; 
his or her rights to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner in 
relation to the decision; and 
the procedure for the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraphs (i) 
and (ii); including (where applicable) particulars of the manner in which an 
application for internal review (Part VI) and IC review (Part VII) may be 
Section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 does not apply to a 
decision referred to in subsection (1). 
A notice under this section is not required to contain any matter that is of such a nature 
that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that document to be an exempt 
(see section 11A). 
Public interest conditional exemptions 
Public interest conditional exemptions—certain operations of agencies 
A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be 
expected to, do any of the following: 
prejudice the effectiveness of procedures or methods for the conduct of tests, 
examinations or audits by an agency; 
prejudice the attainment of the objects of particular tests, examinations or audits 
conducted or to be conducted by an agency; 
have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel 
by the Commonwealth, by Norfolk Island or by an agency; 
have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the 
operations of an agency. 
Note: Access must generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public 
interest (see section 11A). 
Public interest conditional exemptions—personal privacy 
General rule 
A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would involve the 
unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person (including a deceased 
In determining whether the disclosure of the document would involve the unreasonable 
disclosure of personal information, an agency or Minister must have regard to the following 
the extent to which the information is well known; 
whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be (or to have 
been) associated with the matters dealt with in the document; 
the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources; 
any other matters that the agency or Minister considers relevant. 
Subject to subsection (5), subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a 
person for access to a document by reason only of the inclusion in the document of matter 
relating to that person.  
Access given to qualified person instead 
Subsection (5) applies if: 
a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document of the agency, 
or an official document of the Minister, that contains information concerning the 
applicant, being information that was provided by a qualified person acting in his or 
her capacity as a qualified person; and  

it appears to the principal officer of the agency or to the Minister (as the case may 
be) that the disclosure of the information to the applicant might be detrimental to 
the applicant’s physical or mental health, or well-being.  
The principal officer or Minister may, if access to the document would otherwise be given 
to the applicant, direct that access to the document, so far as it contains that information, 
is not to be given to the applicant but is to be given instead to a qualified person who: 
carries on the same occupation, of a kind mentioned in the definition of qualified 
person in subsection (7), as the first-mentioned qualified person; and 
is to be nominated by the applicant. 
The powers and functions of the principal officer of an agency under this section may be 
exercised by an officer of the agency acting within his or her scope of authority in 
accordance with arrangements referred to in section 23. 
In this section: 
qualified person means a person who carries on, and is entitled to carry on, an occupation 
that involves the provision of care for the physical or mental health of people or for their 
well-being, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes any of the 
a medical practitioner; 
a psychiatrist; 
a psychologist; 
a counsellor; 
a social worker. 
Note: Access must generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public 
interest (see section 11A).