Act of grace payments 2019/20

Alan ASHMORE made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Veterans' Affairs

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Department of Veterans' Affairs should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

From: Alan ASHMORE


Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,


I request the following data for 2019/2020, namely:

: The number of claims lodged,

: The number of claims accepted, and

: The total value of the amount paid out.

Yours faithfully,


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Department of Veterans' Affairs

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Dear Mr Ashmore


Acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information (FOI) Request


I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act).


Your request was received by the Department on 2 July 2020 and was made in
the following terms:





I request the following data for 2019/2020, namely:


: The number of claims lodged,


: The number of claims accepted, and


: The total value of the amount paid out.


The Department has 30 days to finalise your request. The 30 day statutory
timeframe commenced the day after your request was received by the


Ordinarily you should expect a decision from the Department by Wednesday,
3 August 2020.


Interrupted work practices impacted by COVID-19


The Department is continuing to work through its FOI case load as quickly
as possible. However, the Department is and will continue to experience an
interruption in the way it will be able to manage FOI requests.


As you are likely to be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a
pandemic by the World Health Organisation.


As the Department focuses its efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19
on its critical services and employees, other non-critical services may
not be delivered within expected timeframes. It is possible that during
this time, business areas that would ordinarily have capacity to undertake
searches and assist in the processing of FOI requests may not be readily
available to provide that assistance. This may have an impact on the
manner and timeframe in which the Department can process FOI requests.


We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and
cooperation during this period.


Request for an extension of time


To help ensure the Department can manage its FOI functions during this
time, we will require additional time to process your FOI request.


The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to
extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days. This
would extend the due date for your request to 31 August 2020.


It would assist the Department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Wednesday 8 July


If agreed, the Department is required to provide your name and contact
details to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
for its records.


Please note that if you do not agree to the extension of time and the
Department is of the view that additional time is still required, we may
need to seek an extension of time from the OAIC under:


•             section 15AB of the FOI Act (due to it being complex or
voluminous), or


•             section 15AC (where the Department has been unable to meet
the statutory timeframe to finalise your request).


We will advise you if we intend to or have sought any extensions of time
from the OAIC.


If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to
contact us through the details below.


Removal of non-SES staff details for more efficient decision making


To allow for more efficient decision making, the Department will remove
all non-SES staff names and contact details from documents falling within
the scope of your request. This will not include those staff details that
have been provided to you, such as in correspondence sent by the staff
member to you.


The need to assess whether staff details should be withheld adds to the
decision making time. The Department is committed to processing as many
access requests as it can during the pandemic. This means ensuring
requests are specific and that they allow for more efficient decision


On this basis, unless you tell us otherwise, we will assume that these
staff details are excluded from the scope of your request and they will be
redacted under section 22 of the FOI Act; as being irrelevant to your


When the processing period may be extended or suspended


As noted above, there are times when the timeframe for processing your
request might be extended by an additional 30 days. This can occur where
an extension of time has been agreed to by yourself under section 15AA of
the FOI Act or where the OAIC has granted an extension of time under
sections 15AB or 15AC of the FOI Act.


In addition, if documents you seek contain information of third parties
and the Department is of the view that is practical to consult with the
third parties, then the Department will be afforded an additional 30 days
to undertake that consolation process (see sections 15(6), 26A, 27 and 27A
of the FOI Act).


The Department will advise you if a third party consultation process is
required and of the revised due date for your request to be finalised by.


Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, the Department will notify you.


Communication with you


The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address which we can send
notices to. You have advised your electronic address is
[1][FOI #6453 email]. We will send all notices
and correspondence to this address. Please advise us if you wish
correspondence to be sent to another address or if your address changes.
If you do not advise us of changes to your address, correspondence and
notices will continue to be sent to the address specified above.


FOI Disclosure log – Publication of documents released under the FOI Act


Please note that information released under the FOI Act may be published
in a disclosure log on the Department’s website at
Section 11C of the FOI Act requires this publication, however it is
subject to certain exceptions, including where publication of personal,
business, professional or commercial information would be unreasonable.


When a decision is provided to you, the Department will advise if the
documents released to you will be published on the Department’s FOI
Disclosure log.


Contacting us about your FOI request


We will email again when the Department has more information. Should you
have any enquiries concerning this matter, please send an email to
[email address]


Further information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the


Yours sincerely



Molly Campbell

Legal Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

t 1800 555 254 | e [2][email address] | [3]

p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601


P Please consider the environment before printing this email

[5]cid:image001.png@01D32593.9CC39540The Department acknowledges the
Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing
connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their
elders past and present.

IMPORTANT: This document contains legal advice and may be subject to legal
professional privilege. Unless it is waived or lost, legal professional
privilege is a rule of law that, in part, provides that the client need
not disclose confidential communications between a legal practitioner and
client. To keep this privilege, the purpose and content of this advice
must only be disclosed to persons who have a need to know and on the basis
that those persons also keep it confidential.

You should consider this advice and take it into account when forming a
decision on how best to proceed. If you decide to adopt a position that
does not align with this advice, you should not state that DVA Legal
Services & Audit Branch has cleared or endorsed a particular position.





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From: Alan ASHMORE



The information I am seeking in this FOI request should form part of regular reporting to senior management and therefore should not require the additional time you are seeking.

As a measure of goodwill and with the current pandemic we are all facing I am in this instance prepared to grant the extension you request.

Having said that I trust this will not be an excuse to wait until the end of August to finalize my FOI request.

Yours sincerely,


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Things to do with this request

Department of Veterans' Affairs only: