This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Soverign Assets for Collateral in Pfizer or Moderna'.

Department Reference:  FOI 3765 
Mr Dean Miles  
Dear Mr Miles 
I refer to your request of 19 April 2022 to the Department of Health (department), 
seeking access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) to the 
following documents: 
Documents, minutes, discussions, meetings, emanegotiations, Memorandum of 
Understanding, relating to contracts with Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Moderna, Johnson & 
Johnson Covid Injections that required the Nation, placing the order prior to 

delivery/perhaps prior to both parties signing contracts, regarding Soverign Assets as 

Practical refusal reason 
I am writing to notify you the department is unable to process your request as 
currently framed due to the volume of documents captured. This letter sets out a 
process for you to consider revising your request so it can be processed.  
If the department is satisfied a ‘practical refusal reason’ exists in relation to an FOI 
request, then after undertaking a request consultation process, it may refuse to give 
access in response to the request.  
I am satisfied, for the reasons set out below, the work involved in processing your 
request in its current form would substantially and unreasonably divert the 
resources of the department from its other operations (see section 24AA(1)(a)(i) of 
the FOI Act). 
 GPO Box 9848 Canberra ACT 2601 - 

- 2 – 
Substantial diversion of resources 
Following a sampling exercise, I have identified 246 documents (not including 
emails) on a single database alone that may fall within the scope of your request. 
This represents only a portion of documents that are likely to exist in the 
department’s possession which fall within the scope of your request. 
Based on the sampling exercise, I estimate 250+ hours of processing time would be 
required to process your request. 
The reasons for this are as follows:  
•  As you have not provided a date range, for the department to identify all 
relevant documents it would be required to review all records captured in 
various databases for the entire duration of the vaccine procurement project 
(over 2 years).  
•  This would include identifying and reviewing all emails of staff involved in 
vaccine procurement across the entire lifetime of that procurement process, 
and would involve searching and retrieving emails of staff who are no longer 
working with the relevant business area, or indeed the department.  
•  In addition, if we were to proceed with your request, the decision maker 
would be required to examine each of the documents identified as being 
relevant to your request and decide whether to grant, refuse or defer access to 
those documents. This includes work undertaken by an FOI Officer, the action 
officer supporting the decision maker, and the decision maker themselves, 
and will include a departmental officer with subject matter expertise and 
knowledge in the department’s vaccine procurement process and an FOI 
officer with subject matter expertise in the provisions of the FOI Act. It also 
includes the work required to prepare the documents for release to you, and 
to compose the necessary formal decision on access. 
•  In addition, as your request is in relation to documents that contain business 
information of affected third party organsiations, any documents found to be 
in scope would require third party consultation. Therefore, the assessment of 
time required to process your request includes time required to consult with 
affected third parties, as required by section 27 of the FOI Act and as 
recommended by the Information Commissioner’s FOI Guidelines. 
In VMQD and Commissioner of Taxation (Freedom of information) [2018] AATA 4619 (17 
December 2018) [101] the AAT noted: 
What constitutes valid practical refusal grounds is thus agency specific and 
resource dependent. Nevertheless for any agency, a burden in excess of 200 
hours would almost certainly make the threshold of a rational and objective 
test. As is illustrated above, burdens as (relatively) small as 74 hours have 
been so characterised. 

- 3 – 
Based on the above, I consider the work required to process your request as it is 
currently framed to be a substantial diversion of resources. 
Unreasonable diversion of resources 
I have also considered whether this substantial diversion of resources would be 
unreasonable in the circumstances. 
The nature of the subject matter of your request means that officers from the Vaccine 
Procurement Branch (‘Branch’), including senior officers, will need to be involved in 
processing the request. The Branch is responsible for managing the procurement and 
supply of the vaccines to Australia in relation to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 
Reallocation of limited staff resources to deal specifically with your request would 
compromise the department’s ability to perform this important work in response to 
the pandemic. 
For these reasons, I am satisfied processing your request would be an unreasonable 
diversion of resources and that a practical refusal reason exists for the purposes of 
paragraph 24AA(1)(a) of the FOI Act. 
Request consultation process – what you need to do 
Before I make a decision about whether to refuse access to the documents on the 
basis of the practical refusal reason, the FOI Act requires me to undertake a request 
consultation process which gives you an opportunity to revise your request (see 
paragraph 24(1)(a) and section 24AB of the FOI Act). 
This letter constitutes a written notice in accordance with subsection 24AB(2) of the 
FOI Act giving you a 14-day period to consult with the department about the terms 
of your request. 
The contact person for this consultation process is the department’s FOI Coordinator 
who can be contacted by telephone on (02) 6289 1666 or by email at: 
Under subsection 24AB(6) of the FOI Act, you have 14 days from the date of this 
notice to notify the department, in writing, that you: 
a)  would like to withdraw your request 
b)  would like to make a revised request, or 
c)  do not wish to revise your request. 
If you do not respond in one of these ways or you do not consult the department’s 
contact person within 14 days after you receive this notice, your request will be 
taken to have been withdrawn under subsection 24AB(7) of the FOI Act. If you 
indicate you do not wish to revise your request, I will proceed to make a decision on 

- 4 – 
whether to refuse your request under subsection 24(1) of the FOI Act. If you need 
more time to respond, please contact the department’s FOI Unit within the 14-day 
period to discuss your need for an extension of time. 
Under subsection 24AB(8) of the FOI Act, the time for processing your FOI request is 
suspended from the day you receive this notice until the day you do one of the 
things listed above. 
How you could revise your request 
In considering whether and how to revise your request, please consider:  
•  providing a limited date range for your request  
•  reduce the request to a particular manufacturer of vaccines  
•  reducing the type of the documents you are seeking access to  
Relevant provisions of the FOI Act
The FOI Act, including the provisions referred to in this letter, can be accessed from 
the Federal Register of Legislation website: 
Yours sincerely 
Jane Wagner 
Assistant Secretary 
Vaccine Procurement Branch 
19 May 2022