Freedom of Information (FOI) request
Notice of Decision
To Mr John Walker
Dear Mr Walker
I refer to your request to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(the FOI Act), received on 15 November 2022.
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a decision on your request for access under the
Scope of request
You set out your request in the fol owing terms:
I seek access to the initial document that your department received from the United States of
America in relation to recommendation(s), demand(s), expectation(s), and/or Order(s) for Covid-
19 and/or MRNA vaccination mandates.
Furthermore and pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 I seek access to the initial
document that your department received from the Crown in relation to recommendation(s),
demand(s), or expectation(s) for Covid-19 and/or MRNA vaccination mandates.
I am authorised to make this decision in accordance with arrangements approved by the
Department’s Secretary under section 23 of the FOI Act.
Postal Address: PO Box 6500, CANBERRA ACT 2600
Telephone: +61 2 6271 5849 Fax: +61 2 6271 5776 www.pmc.gov.au ABN: 18 108 001 191
Material taken into account
In reaching my decision I have had regard to the fol owing:
• the terms of your request
• searches undertaken by the Department
• the FOI Act
• the FOI Guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner1 (the Guidelines)
I have decided to refuse your request under section 24A(1) of the FOI Act, on the grounds that the
Department has taken al reasonable steps to locate the documents you have requested, and those
documents do not exist.
Reason for decision
My findings of fact and reasons for deciding that certain information is irrelevant is set out below.
1. Documents cannot be found or do not exist
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 the 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.
In determining what the FOI Act means with respect to ‘al reasonable steps’ I have had regard to the
Guidelines which discuss the meaning of ‘reasonable’ in section 24A(1)(a). It is not designed to go
beyond the limit assigned by reason, not to be extravagant or excessive, rather to be moderate and of
such an effort to be appropriate or suitable to the circumstances2.
Searches of the Department’s records management system and document holdings did not identify
any documents relevant to the scope of your request. Accordingly, I am satisfied that reasonable
searches of Department records have been made and access is refused on the basis that documents
in scope of your request do not exist.
1 Section 93A of the FOI Act
2 Paragraph 3.88 of the FOI Guidelines
If you disagree with my decision, you may apply for internal review or Information Commissioner
review of the decision.
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 after the date of this letter.
Please attach the reasons why you disagree with the decision. Applications for review should be sent
Information Commissioner review
Under section 54L of the FOI Act you may apply to the Australian Information Commissioner to review
my decision. An application for review by the Information Commissioner must be made in writing
within 60 days after the date of this letter. More information about Information Commissioner review
is available here.3
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your FOI request, please let us know what we could
have done better. We may be able to rectify the problem. If you are not satisfied with our response
you can make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner. A complaint to the
Information Commissioner must be made in writing. More information about complaints is available
If you wish to discuss any aspect of your requests, you can contact the FOI Section by email at
Russel de Burgh
Health and Aged Care Branch
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
13 December 2022