This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Declaration of interest - personal real estate holdings and housing'.

Our reference:
 FOI LEX 46543 
Decision due date: 22 March 2023 
Applicant name: John Smith 
By email:  
Dear John Smith, 
Freedom of Information request LEX 46543 
1.  I refer to your email of 3 February 2023 to  the  Department of Social Services 
(the Department), in which you requested access to the following information under the 
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act): 
‘…the declaration of interest form submitted by the current Senior Manager of Housing 
and Homelessness Policy. Personal information including their name should be 

2.  The scope of your request is outlined at paragraphs 7 to 9 below. 
The Department has undertaken a reasonable search of its records and has identified 
two (2) documents relevant to your request, listed in Appendix 1.  
I have made the decision to refuse access to both documents subject to section 47F of 
the FOI Act. 
The documents identified are set out in Appendix 1, together with applicable exemption 
Authority to make decision 
I 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 
subsection 23(1) of the FOI Act.  
On 3 February 2023, the Department received your FOI request for: 
“the declaration of interest form submitted by the current Senior Manager of Housing 
and Homelessness Policy.” 

On 14 February 2023, the Department emailed you advising that your request was 
invalid on the basis that the term “Senior Manager of Housing and Homelessness Policy” 
may refer to multiple employees within the Department. As such, the Department was 
not able to reasonably identify the documents sought. The Department provided you a 
link to its organisational chart to assist you to identify the person you may be referring 
Page 1 of 11 

On 20 February 2023, you clarified who the term “Senior Manager of Housing and 
Homelessness Policy” referred to. On that date, your request became a valid FOI 
10.  On 28 February 2023, the Department acknowledged receipt of your FOI request.  
Material taken into account  
11.  When making my decision I considered the following: 
the terms of your request; and 
the content of the documents that fall within the scope of your request. 
12.  I also particularly considered the following provisions of the FOI Act:  
section 3 (Objects - general) and section 3A (Objects - information or documents 
otherwise accessible), which outline the objects underpinning a person’s right of 
access under the FOI Act; 
sections 11 (Right of access) and 11A (Access to documents on request), which 
provide for a legally enforceable right to access information held by the 
Government of the Commonwealth; 
section 11B (Public interest exemption factors), to assess whether release of a 
conditionally exempt document was contrary to the public interest; 
section 22 (Access to edited copies), which requires the release of exempt 
documents in an edited form in certain circumstances; 
section 47F (Public interest conditional exemptions – personal privacy), which 
provides that a document is conditionally exempt in circumstances where 
disclosure would compromise personal privacy of a third party). 
13.  Full extracts of the provisions of the FOI Act I have relied on are in Appendix 2
14.  I have also had regard to the FOI Guidelines issued by the Australian Information 
Commissioner under section 93A of the FOI Act. 
15.  A copy of the FOI Guidelines is accessible on the Office of the Australian Information 
Commissioner website at  
Reasons for decision 
16.  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). 
17.  Section 4 of the FOI Act provides that personal information has the same meaning as in 
the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). Personal information is defined in section 6 of 
the Privacy Act as: 
information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is 
reasonably identifiable: 

Page 2 of 11 

whether the information or opinion is true or not; and 
whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or 

18.  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; and 

the individual’s identity is known or is reasonably ascertainable using the 
information in the document. 

19.  Both documents include the personal information of a third party, such as information 
about their personal life. As such, I consider the information in the documents is 
‘personal information’. 
20.  If information is personal information, it is conditionally exempt if disclosure would be 
21.  In considering whether disclosure would be ‘unreasonable’, subsection 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. 
22.  The information in the documents is not well known and is not publically available 
information. Therefore, I consider disclosure of that information would be ‘unreasonable’. 
23.  Accordingly, I have decided that the documents meet the criteria for conditional 
24.  However, where a document is assessed as conditionally exempt, access must be given 
unless access to the document would be contrary to the public interest in accordance 
with subsection 11A(5) of the FOI Act. 
Application of the public interest test – section 47F 
25.  In determining whether both documents are conditionally exempt, I am required to 
consider whether it would be contrary to the public interest to give you access to 
conditionally exempt material at this time. 
26.  Subsection 11B(3) of the FOI Act provides a list of public interest factors favouring 
disclosure. The FOI Guidelines also provide a list of public interest factors favouring and 
opposing disclosure. 
27.  Paragraph 6.27 of the FOI Guidelines explain: 
Page 3 of 11 

‘To conclude that, on balance, disclosure of a document would be contrary to the public 
interest is to conclude that the benefit to the public resulting from disclosure is 
outweighed by the benefit to the public in withholding the information. The decision 
maker must analyse, in each case, where on balance the public interest lies based 
on the particular facts of the matter at the time the decision is made.’ 

28.  In order to assess whether release of the exempt material would be contrary to the public 
interest, I considered all the factors listed in subsection 11B(3) of the FOI Act which 
favour disclosure: 
disclosure would promote the objects of the FOI Act; 
disclosure would inform debate on a matter of public importance; 
promote effective oversight of public expenditure; and 
disclosure would allow a person to access his or her personal information. 
29.  I considered the following factors set out in part 6 of the FOI Guidelines which do not 
favour disclosure: 
a)  disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the protection of an 
individual’s right to privacy; and 
the personal information is that of a government employee in relation to personnel 
management and the disclosure of the information could be reasonably 
considered to reveal information about their private disposition or personal life. 
30.  The Department is committed to complying with its obligations under the Privacy Act, 
which sets out standards and obligations that regulate how the Department must handle 
and manage personal information. I consider that it is firmly in the public interest that the 
Department uphold the rights of individuals to protect their own privacy. I consider that 
handling this information in a way that would be inconsistent with the Department’s 
statutory obligations would be contrary to the public interest. This factor weighs strongly 
against disclosure. 
31.  I am not satisfied that disclosure of the documents would necessarily promote the 
objects of the FOI Act to any great extent, inform debate on a matter of public 
importance, promote effective oversight of public expenditure or provide you with access 
to your personal information. 
32.  I am satisfied that disclosure of the documents would reveal information about an 
employee’s personal life and would interfere that individual’s right to privacy. 
33.  I have not taken into account any of the irrelevant factors set out in subsection 11B(4) 
of the FOI Act in deciding whether access to the documents would, on balance, be 
contrary to the public interest. 
34.  On balance, I consider the public interest factors against disclosure to be more 
persuasive than the public interest factors favouring disclosure in regards to the personal 
information contained within the documents. I am satisfied that the public interest is to 
withhold the exempt documents. 
Page 4 of 11 

35.  Although I consider access to the personal information set out above is against the public 
interest, I am required by paragraph 22(2)(b) of the FOI Act to provide you access to an 
edited copy of the document, if it is possible and reasonably practicable to do so. My 
assessment of the criteria is detailed below.  
Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted (section 22) 
36.  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. 
37.  I have considered whether it is reasonably practicable to provide you with an edited copy 
of the documents, whilst ensuring that I do not disclose exempt material or information 
that I am not authorised to disclose.  
38.  I consider that it is not practicable, and accordingly, I have not provided an edited copy 
of the documents.  
Your rights of review 
39.  Information about your rights to seek a review of this decision are at Attachment A. 
40.  Should you have any enquiries concerning this matter please do not hesitate to contact 
the FOI team by email at 
Yours sincerely, 
Director (a/g) 
FOI Section 
Legal Services Group 
10 March 2023 
Page 5 of 11 

Schedule of documents  
FOI 46543 

Exemption Provision 
2021-22 Financial Year 
Access refused.  
Declaration of Interests Form 
2022-23 Financial Year 
Access refused.  
Declaration of Interests Form 
Page 6 of 11 

Appendix 2 
Schedule of relevant provisions used in making this decision 
FOI LEX 46543 
Excerpts from the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) 
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 
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. 
Note:  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. 
Page 7 of 11 

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. 
Note:  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 

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 
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). 
11B    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 3A);  
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.  
Page 8 of 11 

Requirements for request  
The request must:  
be in writing; and  
(aa)    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; 
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 
Page 9 of 11 

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. 
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 
Note:  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 made. 
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 document. 
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 person). 
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 matters: 
(a)   the extent to which the information is well known; 
(b)   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; 
(c)   the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources; 
(d)   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)   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 
Page 10 of 11 

concerning the applicant, being information that was provided by a qualified 
person acting in his or her capacity as a qualified person; and  
(b)   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: 
(a)   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 
(b)   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 following: 
(a)   a medical practitioner; 
(b)   a psychiatrist; 
(c)   a psychologist; 
(d)   a counsellor; 
(e)   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). 
93A Guidelines 

The Information Commissioner may, by instrument in writing, issue guidelines for the 
purposes of this Act. 
Note:  For variation and revocation of the instrument, see subsection 33(3) of the Acts 
Interpretation Act 1901 . 
For the purposes of the performance of a function, or the exercise of a power, under 
this Act, regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the 
Commissioner under this section including, but not limited to, guidelines issued for the 
purposes of the following provisions: 
paragraph 9A(b) (information publication scheme); 
subsection 11B(5) (public interest factors); 
subsection 15(5A) (decisions on requests). 
Guidelines are not legislative instruments. 
Page 11 of 11