Australian Funding of UNHCR Asia-Pacific

Cam made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The request was refused by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

From: Cam

Delivered

Dear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

Please provide any documents related to the amount of funding which DFAT provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees "Asia and the Pacific" Bureau for the years 2001-2017.

Yours faithfully,

Cameron Doig.

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From: FOI
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Doig

Thank you for your e-mail dated 30 July in which you seek access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to:

“Please provide any documents related to the amount of funding which DFAT provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees "Asia and the Pacific" Bureau for the years 2001-2017.”

This e-mail sets out some information about how your request will be processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Searches are now being undertaken in relevant areas of the Department for documents relevant to your request.

Scope of request:
If it emerges that the scope of your request is unclear or is too large for processing, the Department will contact you to discuss re-scoping the request.

Timeframe for receiving our decision:
We received your request on 30 July and the 30-day statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 30 August 2017. The period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We will advise you if any extension of time is required.

Charges:
Please note that the Department issues charges for processing FOI requests. We will advise you of these charges when we are in a position to estimate the resources required to process your request.

Timing of release:
As the subject matter of your request will require DFAT to upload any documents released to you to the Department’s FOI Disclosure Log, we take this opportunity to advise you that the Department’s policy is to upload documents to the disclosure log on the same day as the documents are released to you.

Exclusion of officials’ names and contact details:
It is the Department’s policy to withhold the mobile numbers of all government officials, and the names and contact details of government officials not in the Senior Executive Service (SES) or equivalent. If you require the mobile numbers of all government officials, or the names and contact details of non-SES officials, please let us know at [DFAT request email] so the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the scope of your request.

Personal Information:
If we need to consult with other people or organisations regarding your FOI request, we may need to disclose your personal information (e.g. your name). When we consult it may be apparent that you have made a request, even if we do not disclose your identity. Please let us know if you have any concerns in this regard. The Department’s privacy policy is available at dfat.gov.au/privacy.html.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by return e-mail at [DFAT request email].

Yours sincerely

FOI TEAM
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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From: FOI
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Doig

I refer to your two FOI requests dated 30 July 2017 seeking access to:

“Please provide any documents related to the amount of funding which DFAT provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees "Asia and the Pacific" Bureau for the years 2001-2017.”

and

“Please provide any documents related to the amount of funding which DFAT provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia for the years 2001-2017.”

Practical refusal reason
Notice is hereby given under section 24AB(2) of the FOI Act of an intention to refuse to grant access to the documents sought. The practical refusal reason is that the work involved in processing your requests would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of DFAT from its other operations.
In deciding that a practical refusal reason exists, I have given consideration as to how DFAT could proceed to process your requests, and the time and resources that would be involved in doing so. I have been assisted in this task by members of staff in the Humanitarian Response Branch of DFAT to determine the probable resource demands posed by your FOI requests.
As you have requested documents which span a 16-year time period, this would require an extensive search of our hard copy files and financial information prior to 2006-07, as well as searches across our electronic files. I am therefore of the opinion that searching all potential relevant files to identify materials relevant to your requests would constitute a substantial and unreasonable diversion of DFAT’s resources within the meaning of section 24AA(1) of the FOI Act. Notwithstanding, I advise that the Financial Tracking System should provide sufficient visibility of Australian funding to humanitarian organisations from 2001 onwards. That information is available at:
https://fts.unocha.org/donors/overview

Consultation process
In accordance with section 24AB(2)(e), the consultation period during which you may consult with me to revise the scope of your requests is 14 days after the day you are given this notice. Please note that if you do not take this opportunity to consult, in accordance with section 24AB(7)(a), your requests will be taken to have been withdrawn under section 24AB(6).
I am the DFAT officer with whom you may consult if you wish to revise your requests such that they could in fact be processed. I may be contacted by email at: [DFAT request email] and I am happy to take any reasonable steps provide you, so far as is reasonably practicable, with any information that I can to assist you in amending your requests under the FOI Act.
Please note that during this period of consultation, the statutory timeframe under section 15(5) of the FOI Act for the processing of your requests is on hold (see section 24AB(8) for details).
I have attached a copy of sections 24, 24AA and 24AB of the FOI Act for your information.
Yours sincerely

Helen Horsington
Director
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section

24 Power to refuse request—diversion of resources etc.
(1) If an agency or Minister is satisfied, when dealing with a request for a document, that a practical refusal reason exists in relation to the request (see section 24AA), the agency or Minister:
(a) must undertake a request consultation process (see section 24AB); and
(b) if, after the request consultation process, the agency or Minister is satisfied that the practical refusal reason still exists—the agency or Minister may refuse to give access to the document in accordance with the request.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the agency or Minister may treat 2 or more requests as a single request if the agency or Minister is satisfied that:
(a) the requests relate to the same document or documents; or
(b) the requests relate to documents, the subject matter of which is substantially the same.
24AA When does a practical refusal reason exist?
(1) For the purposes of section 24, a practical refusal reason exists in relation to a request for a document if either (or both) of the following applies:
(a) the work involved in processing the request:
(i) in the case of an agency—would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations; or
(ii) in the case of a Minister—would substantially and unreasonably interfere with the performance of the Minister’s functions;
(b) the request does not satisfy the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b) (identification of documents).
(2) Subject to subsection (3), but without limiting the matters to which the agency or Minister may have regard, in deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, the agency or Minister must have regard to the resources that would have to be used for the following:
(a) identifying, locating or collating the documents within the filing system of the agency, or the office of the Minister;
(b) deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to a document to which the request relates, or to grant access to an edited copy of such a document, including resources that would have to be used for:
(i) examining the document; or
(ii) consulting with any person or body in relation to the request;
(c) making a copy, or an edited copy, of the document;
(d) notifying any interim or final decision on the request.
(3) In deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, an agency or Minister must not have regard to:
(a) any reasons that the applicant gives for requesting access; or
(b) the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what the applicant’s reasons are for requesting access; or
(c) any maximum amount, specified in the regulations, payable as a charge for processing a request of that kind.

24AB What is a request consultation process?
Scope
(1) This section sets out what is a request consultation process for the purposes of section 24.
Requirement to notify
(2) The agency or Minister must give the applicant a written notice stating the following:
(a) an intention to refuse access to a document in accordance with a request;
(b) the practical refusal reason;
(c) the name of an officer of the agency or member of staff of the Minister (the contact person) with whom the applicant may consult during a period;
(d) details of how the applicant may contact the contact person;
(e) that the period (the consultation period) during which the applicant may consult with the contact person is 14 days after the day the applicant is given the notice.
Assistance to revise request
(3) If the applicant contacts the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice, the agency or Minister must take reasonable steps to assist the applicant to revise the request so that the practical refusal reason no longer exists.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), reasonable steps includes the following:
(a) giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity to consult with the contact person;
(b) providing the applicant with any information that would assist the applicant to revise the request.
Extension of consultation period
(5) The contact person may, with the applicant’s agreement, extend the consultation period by written notice to the applicant.
Outcome of request consultation process
(6) The applicant must, before the end of the consultation period, do one of the following, by written notice to the agency or Minister:
(a) withdraw the request;
(b) make a revised request;
(c) indicate that the applicant does not wish to revise the request.
(7) The request is taken to have been withdrawn under subsection (6) at the end of the consultation period if:
(a) the applicant does not consult the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice; or
(b) the applicant does not do one of the things mentioned in subsection (6) before the end of the consultation period.
Consultation period to be disregarded in calculating processing period
(8) The period starting on the day an applicant is given a notice under subsection (2) and ending on the day the applicant does one of the things mentioned in paragraph (6)(b) or (c) is to be disregarded in working out the 30 day period mentioned in paragraph 15(5)(b).
Note: Paragraph 15(5)(b) requires that an agency or Minister take all reasonable steps to notify an applicant of a decision on the applicant’s request within 30 days after the request is made.
No more than one request consultation process required
(9) To avoid doubt, this section only obliges the agency or Minister to undertake a request consultation process once for any particular request.

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