Buloke Council's documents relating to Maitreya Arts and Music Festival

Chris F made this Freedom of Information request to Buloke Shire Council

The request was refused by Buloke Shire Council.

From: Chris F

Delivered

Dear Buloke Shire Council,

I request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act (1982):

1) All documents relating to the Maitreya Festival from April 2015 onwards.

a) Including, but not exclusively:

* Plans
* Reports
* Meeting notes / Minutes
* Internal memos / Directions / Advice
* Intranet / Newsletter content
* Social media communication
* Emails, Notices, Letters, Communications sent:

To / from / cc'd:
-- CEO,
-- Mayor,
-- Councillors,
-- Directors,
-- Managers,
-- Planning staff,
-- Council's media / website and social media staff,
-- Executive assistants,
-- Internal legal,
-- Other staff

With:
-- Internal council staff,
-- External agencies including but not exclusively (VicPol, CFA, Ambulance Vic, St Johns, Parks Vic, DELWP, Aboriginal Affairs, State government ministers and their staff, Other agencies)
-- Community organisations and leaders,
-- Indigenous leaders,
-- Local businesses,
-- External media organisations,
-- Promoters and their representatives,
-- Festival stall holders,
-- Festival musicians,
-- Festival contractors (construction, production and lighting, security, medical, fire and others),
-- Ticketing agencies

b) Any general or partial legal notes / directions / communications that are not excluded by FOI (1982) s42.

2) All documents / communication relating to use of 62.03 of the Buloke Planning Scheme from April 2015 onwards for purposes of:

* use of 62.03 for a festival or event (which may not directly mention Maitreya Festival); or
* use of 62.03 for the Wooroonook Lakes.

3) All documents relating to use or requirement of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) for the Wooroonook Lakes from April 2015 onwards.

4) A summary of legal costs incurred to challenge or enforce the Maitreya Festival decisions made by council.

Also due to the substantial public interest in this matter by media, the local community, and attendees I ask that the charge be waived as per FOI (1982) s29(5)(b).

Yours Faithfully,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment Capture P1 BSC website FOI information.PNG.png
736K Download

Attachment Capture P2 BSC website FOI information.PNG.png
68K Download

Attachment foirequestform.pdf
13K Download View as HTML


Dear Chris

 

Please find attached a form to complete to lodge your FOI request.  This
form is also located on the Buloke Shire website along with an explanation
of how to submit an FOI request.

I have also included screen shots of the information.

Please note that a fee of $27.20 applies and the search for information
will not occur until this fee is paid.

Council then has 45 days to complete your request.

Your request must be specific rather than a request for general
information.

The information will be provided at a cost of 5c per page. 

You will be notified of the total cost prior to being provided the
information.

The information will be released once the fee is paid.

 

Cheers

Bill

 

Bill Hutcheson

Director Corporate Services

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][email address]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Chris F


Attachment FOI Form Buloke Council Maitreya Festival.pdf
417K Download View as HTML


Dear Bill,

Please find attached, the prescribed form which has been completed.

I will contact your office next week during business hours to arrange
payment.

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

Please find the following sections from the FOI guidelines:

https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

3.39:

The FOI Act does not require an applicant who is a natural person to disclose or provide proof of their identity, nor require a body corporate or politic to establish that it is a legal entity. The Act does not prevent a natural person using a pseudonym. This principle is also reflected in APP 2 of the Privacy Act, which provides that an individual has the option when dealing with an entity to which the Privacy Act applies ‘of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym’.

Also:

https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

3.48:

The request must give details of how notices under the FOI Act may be sent to the applicant (s 15(2)(c)). The return address may be a physical, postal or electronic address (such as an email address).

As per section 3.48 of the guidelines, the requirements under the Act for a FOI request are as follows:

- Must be in writing
- Must be stated for purposes of the FOI Act
- Must identify information requested
- Must give notice of how to send responses
- Must be requested via post, email, fax, or public website

I believe I have met all the above requirements. Was there something missing on those points that you needed?

Also can you please send all responses through the [email address] email.

Thanks for getting back to me.

Regards,

Chris

> Hi Chris
>
> Thanks for the FOI application.
> Before I can process it I require a full name and address.
> Once I have these detail’s I’ll email you an account so you can pay it online.
> Alternatively you can send us a cheque or money order.
>
> Once payment has been made we will then assess your application.
>
> Cheers
>
> Bill

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment DOC220316 22032016155453.pdf
19K Download View as HTML


Hi Chris

Please find attached an invoice which will allow you to pay for the FOI application.
Please confirm by email when you make payment and I'll ask Finance to notify me when it hits our bank account.

Cheers
Bill

Bill Hutcheson
Director Corporate Services
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[email address]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

Just letting you know that the payment has been made.

Kind Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris

 

Just confirming that your payment has been received.

 

Cheers

Bill

 

Bill Hutcheson

Director Corporate Services

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][email address]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris,

 

Please see attached letter sent on behalf of Bill Hutcheson.

 

Regards

 

Michelle Ryan

Records/Customer Service Team Leader

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][Buloke Shire Council request email]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buloke Shire Council request email]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment FIO request letter 2 16 004030.pdf
194K Download View as HTML


Hi Chris,

 

Please see attached letter sent on behalf of Bill Hutcheson.

 

Regards

 

Michelle Ryan

Records/Customer Service Team Leader

Buloke Shire Council

 

 

p.  1300 520 520

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][Buloke Shire Council request email]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buloke Shire Council request email]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

Were you missing an attachment to your previous email?

I'm unable to see one coming through.

If there was an attachment - is it possible to try attaching the letter as a PDF based attachment.

Regards,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

My apologies, the attachment is now visible. Please disregard my last email.

I will respond to your letter shortly.

Thanks,

Chris F

Link to this

Chris F left an annotation ()

The following question was written to "right to know" staff:

----

I'm writing to see if anyone can help me with a clarification about the Act.

I wrote a request to Buloke Council about 3-4 weeks ago and they have just got back to me now asking for clarification to my request.

They have said as it doesn't comply to s17 I can submit an amended request, but also states the 45 day time period will not start until that has been sent through.

Is that correct? Have there been any similar requests or am I able to argue the original time period still stands?

Is this just an attempt to stall or delay the request by them or are they able to do this?

I'd be appreciative of some input to this.

Link to this

Henare Degan left an annotation ()

Hi Chris,

On face value it seems absurd that the authority can simply delay replying to your response until they're satisfied it's been appropriately defined. The Federal Act provides for a consultation period in these cases but as far as I know it just pauses the response time frame.

I'm less familiar with the Victorian law so I'd suggest you contact the FOI Commissioner's office, they're usually very helpful with things like this. Their number is 1300 842 364.

Link to this

Chris F left an annotation ()

After calling FOI Victoria, it seems that council is within their rights to do this due to the way legislation is worded.

They have complied to the Victorian FOI Act so the only recourse is to re-submit an amended request.

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

My apologies for the delay. Please find below my amended request below.

Please let me know asap if there is anything unclear in the amended request that does not meet the requirements of s17.

In terms of exempt information being removed from documents and reasons for removal, I was expecting details of that to appear in the Schedule of Documents.

I'm happy for exempt or irrelevant material removed from "exempt documents" as per s25(a), to make those exempt document available.

I cannot comment on "non-exempt documents" (those not covered by s25(a)) having material removed however, as that may vary per document.

I'm not able to make an informed decision without at minimum seeing the Schedule of Documents and reasons given for "non-exempt documents" having material removed.

Regards,

Chris

-------------------------------------

Clarified Request:

I request the following documents under the Freedom of Information Act (1982):

(1)(a) All documents relating to the Maitreya Festival, from 1 April 2015 onwards.

(1)(b) All legal documents relating to the Maitreya Festival that are not exempt by FOI (1982) s32, from 1 April 2015 onwards.

(2)(a) All documents relating to 62.03 (Buloke Planning Scheme) for (i)a festival or event, and (ii)at any place within the shire, from 1 April 2015 onwards (with no restrictions at all).

(2)(b) All documents relating to 62.03 (Buloke Planning Scheme) for (i)any purpose, and (ii)relating to any land located at the Wooroonook Lakes, from 1 April 2015 onwards (with no restrictions at all).

(3) All documents relating to a CHMP for any land located at the Wooroonook Lakes from, 1 April 2015 onwards (with no restrictions at all).

(4)(a) Any document containing a summary or total of legal costs incurred relating to the Maitreya Festival.

(4)(b) Should a document under (4)(a) not exist, any document showing individual legal costs incurred relating to the Maitreya Festival.

I request the documents in electronic form to the email address provided:

[email address]

Please see guidance notes below for further clarification.

-------------------------

Guidance notes:

(1)(a) Is for all documents. Bullet points provided in the original request were provided as guidance / illustration and were not exhaustive.

(1)(b) Is for all documents not covered by legal privilege. I'm aware that (1)(a) may cover this either partially or fully.

(2)(a) This includes documents where both 62.03 was "sought and applied", and also "sought and not applied".
This should also include (for example) documents where 62.03 was discussed internally within council not relating to a direct or specific request by someone - those which may not fit into the previous two categories.

(2)(b) This includes documents where both 62.03 was "sought and applied", and also "sought and not applied".
This should also include (for example) documents where 62.03 was discussed internally within council not relating to a direct or specific request by someone - those which may not fit into the previous two categories.
I'm aware that (2)(a) may cover this either partially or fully.

(3)(a) This includes documents where a CHMP was both "required and not completed", and also "required and completed".
This should also include (for example) documents where a CHMP was discussed internally within council not relating to a direct or specific request by someone - those which may not fit into the previous two categories.

(4)(a) For this I do not require individual line items of billings and would be satisfied with a document which contains a summary of legal costs.
I worded this in the original request to limit the coverage of this point as I do not require all documents, just a document or documents that would reasonably inform someone sufficiently of the costs incurred.

(4)(b) I'm happy for this to be skipped should a document covering (4)(a) be available.

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment 3rd FOI letter 10 5 2016.pdf
505K Download View as HTML


Hi Chris,

 

Please find a letter attached from Bill Hutcheson regarding the FOI
request.

 

Regards

 

Michelle Ryan

Records/Customer Service Team Leader

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520 |

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][email address]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

In terms of (e) I'm happy for council to treat itemised amounts as irrelevant if a total or summary is available.

With the other sections, they do capture my request.

However, there is one small change - can you please change the "to" date (18 March 2016) to the date that you accept this request as valid.

With that amendment I'm happy for this to be actioned at your end.

Regards,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

I have not heard a response from you.

As my previous email was accepting this request, is there anything further you need?

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council

Hello Chris,

A letter is being drafted and will be sent to you this afternoon.

Regards

Michelle Ryan
Records/Customer Service Team Leader
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 |
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[Buloke Shire Council request email]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment 3rd FOI letter 10 5 2016.pdf
505K Download View as HTML


Hi Chris,

 

Please find a response on behalf of Bill Hutcheson.

 

Regards

 

Michelle Ryan

Records/Customer Service Team Leader

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520 |

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][Buloke Shire Council request email]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buloke Shire Council request email]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

It appears you've sent the previous response (#3, 10th May) and not the current one from today.

Regards,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council


Attachment Letter 4 C Follett FOI.pdf
2.5M Download View as HTML


Hi Chris,

 

Please find attached a letter on behalf of Bill Hutcheson.

 

Regards

 

Michelle Ryan

Records/Customer Service Team Leader

Buloke Shire Council

 

p.  1300 520 520 |

f.  03 5493 7395

a.  PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527

[1][Buloke Shire Council request email]

[2]http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Buloke Shire Council request email]
2. http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

The initial request was made on March 14. From that point, the request has not materially changed - apart from a clarification of scope from Council's end.

Up until now, Council has had approximately 2.5 months / 10 weeks knowing about the request to undertake preliminary work.

Due to the amount of action undertaken by Council surrounding the festival, it is not unreasonable to assume that Council already has a large collection of documents already assembled.

Also due to Council's legal action launched against the festival, there will also be already be a pre-collected set of documents which was provided to the legal team to support their action in VCAT.

It is also my understanding that Jessie Holmes (Manager of Planning and Community Support) has already had a staff member working solidly on this request since it came through.

It is not unreasonable to assume that Council should have already a large amount of documents already pre-collected due to the above factors.

As there is a high public interest (communicated to me both publicly and privately) in the results of this request, and as all responses are made public (via "right to know" .org's website), resources provided by Council should be higher than a private request where the response would not be visible in the public domain.

As you have already estimated the size of the request to be around 1000, it seems a lot of this preliminary work has already been undertaken.

Can you let me know what progress has been made so far in terms of the request?

Also are you able to provide a preliminary schedule or list of documents that Council have currently identified?

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris

Please find the response to your email.

Since your initial request, Council has sought to clarify and confirm exactly what your request is. Council needs to ensure that there is no ambiguity about the information that has been requested.

Until the request is clarified, Council does not gather information. To have done so would have meant some important documents might be excluded.
There is therefore no list or schedule of documents collected.

Council did not launch legal action against the festival. Council was taken to VCAT by the promoter. Planning documents were reviewed by Council's legal representatives to allow them to address VCAT.

It is incorrect that the Manager of Planning and Community Support has had a staff member collecting documents. No request from my department has been made for them to do so.

I can also assure you that the volume of documents is huge due to the copious correspondence between the promoter and many Council staff members over the Maitreya Festival. As such not all documents can be found at one source. As you want all documents in relation to the Festival we cannot exclude any as being not relevant.

The volume of work involved in this request is not only in the collection of documents. Very considerable work is also involved in the review of all documents to ensure they are redacted in accordance with both FOI and Privacy legislation. To complete this work, it is estimated that one staff member would require more than 100hrs to do so. Council would need to backfill this position for this period. Alternatively we would have to engage someone to review and redact the documents.

In reviewing your request, points 'b', 'c', 'd' and 'e' can be dealt with within a reasonable timeframe but point 'a' is where the majority of the work is, due to the general nature of this request. We are required to deal with the request as a whole, rather than supply some parts of a request. If you were to refine 'point a' of your request this would be less onerous and would make it easier to progress.

Happy to chat further with you about this.

Cheers
Bill

Bill Hutcheson
Director Corporate Services
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[email address]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

I am quite disappointed to hear that Council has not conducted any preliminary information gathering on the request. As the request was relating to the festival it would have been easier to rule them out once the final request was formalised rather than waiting.

I’m also not quite sure how you can accurately measure both time and volume for this request. You’ve stated figures of approximately 1000 documents and 100+ hours, however these would be very hard to estimate without any of the preliminary work being completed.

I believe it would also be hard to estimate the amount of documents that contain text that would need to be redacted due to privacy concerns. I would think this would be the exception rather than the rule. Without preliminary work I believe this is not able to be accurately forecast, however I would not think this would take a major part of the time fulfilling this request.

As you also mentioned in your last email that a bulk of documents exist in email form between the promoter and Council, those documents are easily accessible as Microsoft Exchange Server and other email servers have built in functionality for easily access of FOI or equivalent searches over a server-wide scope which should cover a majority of documents in that class.

In your letter you mentioned that there would be possibly 4 areas of Council that contain most of the documents. If each were responsible for their own areas (for the most part), there should not be a significant burden on one individual staff member. If they conducted searches within their unit and passed that on to your FOI staff member that would not take a large amount of resources away from any one team or unit. Most of these should already be filed or logged in Council’s record keeping process already.

That being said I’m happy to make the following changes to narrow the scope and time taken to fulfil the request:

B, C, D, E should be processed as-is, as you said you had no issues with those points.

For A:

(1) “A” documents can be limited to “electronic” documents only (hard copy documents can be excluded) - which will assist in speed of searches as electronic documents can be search for via computers and not require physical file access.

(2) Narrow the date range of “A” to: 15/Aug/2015 – 31/June/2016.

(3) A document in “A” may be excluded – if the document:

(i) Requires Council to get permission from an individual person;

(ii) Cannot be easily redacted to make it available without needing to get permission;

(iii) The individual is a private person and not acting on behalf of - the promoter, a contractor, Council, a business , an organisation or community group or government.

I believe the above changes will greatly speed up the searching of documents (due to it being able to be searched for via technology) and also external contact which you were concerned would take time has been reduced.

Also in your letter you mentioned that you believed you would struggle to meet the 45 day period. After discussions with the Freedom of Information Commission, I was informed that this was not a hard limit and Agencies were often not able to meet this limit. So I am giving you my assurance that I will not be putting in an immediate complaint (s61) should this time period not be met and I’m happy for Council to go slightly over to meet their obligations.

Regards,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris

Preliminary document gathering could not occur as we were waiting for you to confirm what your request was. Until we clearly define the FOI request we will not allocate resources to the task. This is standard practice for any FOI requests Council receives. We are not at all sure of our estimates of time as you have noted, as this cannot occur until we actually do the work. Regardless of whether a document needs to be redacted, it will still need to be read and assessed. This is where most of the work occurs. A central resource in our IT department would be used to locate all electronic documents.

All documents that council receives as a hard copy are subsequently scanned and put into Council's records management system. Consequently your request for electronic documents would still include these and the scope of documents being sought has not been narrowed. We will still need to do the same amount of work.

The searching for the documents does not take up most of the time involved complying with your request. The majority of the time involved with your request is in the review of the documents to ensure all legislation is complied with and to make sure that if any referenced documents have also been included. The exclusions you have included below (point 3) are not significant. Each document will still have to be read and assessed even if it were then to be excluded.

Please re-assess your requirements as the request is still very resource intense.

Cheers
Bill

Bill Hutcheson
Director Corporate Services
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[email address]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

Henare Degan left an annotation ()

I'm astounded at the run-around you're getting with this request Chris. From the exchange it seems obvious to me that you've attempted to work with the authority in good faith and sought advice from the Freedom of Information Commissioner in a spirit of helpfulness and collaboration. Despite all of this the authority is still refusing to accept they've received an FOI request and need to start processing it.

I think you now need to make an official complaint to the Freedom of Information Commissioner. I'd start this by once again calling them to confirm the best course of action. Their phone number is 1300 842 364. Don't forget to send them a link to this request where they can review all the correspondence for themselves.

If you need any more help or advice with your request please don't hesitate to add an annotation and someone from the community can jump in and lend a hand.

Cheers,

Henare
Right To Know administrator

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

Thank you for that clarification. My apologies for the delay, I was with limited internet access to respond to your email until now.

You have stated that there would be resources required gathering and collating documents (especially those in hard-copy form) to which I have amended the request to electronic only documents to assist in the speeding up this part. This reduces resources required in locating hand written notes, diary entries, filed paper documents that have not been scanned, video and audio that are not in electronic format throughout all areas of Council. This also reduces duplication, which you mentioned as a concern, where documents are contained in both hard copy and electronic form. The "electronic documents only" means that there will be minimal resources needed outside the computer aided search for documents, which would have to be undertaken as part of the request anyway.

You also had concerns about the need to contact individuals for permission about disclosure to which I have amended the request by removing private individuals, which are harder to contact. This is now limited to businesses, organisations and government which will both be easier to contact, as well have less privacy requirements, which relates only to trade secrets or commercial in confidence concerns (s34). As those individuals are acting as part of their role in business or government, they will not have the privacy constraints as private individuals. Also documents which can be redacted easily will not require time for letters, phone calls and follow ups and can be processed within a short amount of time to avoid the notification requirements which is required to be made under (s33(3)).

You have also stated that the date range for the request which was originally 15 months was too broad, to which I narrowed the request down to approximately 10 months which is around a 35% reduction.

You have also expressed concerns with meeting your 45 day time period to which I have stated that I will not actively pursue a complaint with FOI commission for failing to meet that deadline, as long as work is progressing. This 45 day period would not be able to be confirmed without preliminary work.

You have asked that I still re-assess my requirements due to the resources required, although you have acknowledged that you are not able to accurately estimate that time period needed. This includes after I have tried to reduce Council's additional work by amending the resource-intensive parts of the request to which you have said will take larger amounts of time.

You have said previously that you are unable to start processing a request or start preliminary document gathering until a valid request was made. Council accepted the request as valid on 13 May 2016.

As the request is now accepted and you have mentioned in your previous email that the "searching for the documents does not take up most of the time involved complying with your request" and the "majority of the time involved with your request is in the review of the documents", I ask again that you now provide a "Schedule of Documents" which lists matching documents covered by this request.

I don't ask that the full review of all documents is started straight away (the major bulk of the work), simply the search and identification which you have said will not take up much time.

With this Schedule of documents containing: ID, Title, Date, Business Unit, Class of document and Owner of document (ie. email to/from) I think it would be the most efficient way of both estimating time and narrowing the scope of the work to a point that we are both satisfied with.

I look forward to receiving this Schedule and working with Council to fulfil this request by taking the least amount of resources as possible to meet Council's obligations under the Act.

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

I am out of the office and returning Monday 27 June.

If the matter is urgent please contact Shana Johnny on
[email address] to assist

Otherwise I will deal with your email when I return

 

Cheers

Bill

 

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

I have been corresponding with Bill in relation to amending my FOI request.

After sending my latest response earlier today it appears he's away on leave until the 27th.

Are you able to ensure this process is still continuing in his absence?

Thanks and Regards,

Chris

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Michelle,

I have not heard a response to my email to you last Friday regarding Bill's leave.

Are you able to provide me with an update of the status of this request and what is being done to move this forward while he's on leave?

Regards,

Chris F

Link to this

From: Michelle Ryan
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your email of 17th and 23rd June 2016.

It is not appropriate that I respond to your email given I am not authorized to respond to FOI requests on behalf of the Council and the fact that Bill Hutcheson has been corresponding with you on this matter to date as the Council’s authorized FOI decision-maker. Bill Hutcheson will be in a position to respond to your email as soon as practicable after he returns from leave on Monday.

Regards


Michelle Ryan
Records/Customer Service Team Leader
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 |
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[Buloke Shire Council request email]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris

Please note that Council has made the decision to refuse access to the documents under s 25A(1) of the FOI Act on the basis that the request has not been sufficiently narrowed and the Council remains presently satisfied that processing would involve a substantial and unreasonable diversion of its resources.

If you are not satisfied with Council's decision, you may seek review from the Acting FOI Commissioner by writing within 28 days of you receiving this letter to:

Mr Michael Ison
Acting FOI Commissioner
PO Box 24274,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3001.

Telephone: 1300 842 364.
Email: [email address],
Web: www.foicommissioner.vic.gov.au

With regards to the schedule of documents this does not fall under FOI legislation but I am happy to have a discussion with you regarding what we can do for you.

If you would like to pursue the Schedule please give me a call on 1300 520 520

Cheers
Bill

Bill Hutcheson
Director Corporate Services
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[email address]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

Let me express my utmost disappointment with your response.

My last email was made with the intention of working together with Council to help narrow the request.

I do not believe Council have made any legitimate efforts to work with myself as required to under the FOI VIC Act 25A(6)(b).

I sent my response to consult with council June 17th to which I received an out of office reply from yourself notifying me that you were on leave for 10 days (as of my email).

I followed that up immediately with an email to your Records/Customer Service Team Leader who stated she was not authorised to respond to my request, although I was simply asking for her to keep the process of consultation between us both moving forward.

In the 2 weeks since my email, where you have been back for the past 5 days, you or anyone at Council have made no attempt to consult and help work together through this issue as required to under the Act.

I again ask that you respond in full to my last email and also undertake to complete preliminary work which will help both sides come up with a scope of work which both sides are happy with.

If you already have a schedule I ask that you provide it via email as an act of good faith.

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

Toby left an annotation ()

Seems like a waste of time to keep chasing the council... If they wanted to help they would not have been so difficult. They're even telling you to go to the FOI commissioner now.

In my opinion, just move on to starting an appeal already. Better use of your energy.

PS. Keep trying, appreciate your efforts!

Link to this

Alana King left an annotation ()

This is very bad. Exactly what the constituents put up with. Complete run around, waste of our tax payer dollars with no consultation or transparency. This Shire has to go. Can they be anymore corrupt??

Link to this

From: Bill Hutcheson
Buloke Shire Council

Hi Chris

Please note that no schedule has been compiled and as stated a schedule is not covered under FOI legislation.

My offer still stands to discuss this with you if you wish to call.

Cheers
Bill

Bill Hutcheson
Director Corporate Services
Buloke Shire Council

p. 1300 520 520 | 54 7801 19
a. PO Box 1, Wycheproof VIC 3527
[email address]
http://www.buloke.vic.gov.au

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Chris F

Delivered

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your reply.

I'd prefer all contact to be via email. My previous email dated June 17, 2016 was my request to discuss this with you.

I was happy with Council to conduct preliminary work (identifying, locating and collating the documents) - which you stated was not going to take many resources.

While this may not fall within FOI scope, it was requested with the intention to then work with Council, in a collaborative manner, to reduce the amount of documents (and therefore resources) required for your officers to examine and consult prior to release.

I'm still happy to do this. I think this is the best way to move forward as my previous modification of the request (June 07, 2016) - which was based on your original recommendations, was not able to reduce the estimated workload.

Your only reply was, after you were back from leave, to send a decision letter to refuse the request.

Regards,

Chris

Link to this

Julie Bateman left an annotation ()

The request that has been put through by Chris has been more than fair & reasonable.
Seems Shire to don't want to comply with request and hiding behind a clause in the act.
More than one person are asking for these documents relating to Maitreya. When asked at time of Shire many questions by ratepayers/community members they were dismissed about the Maitreya Festival.
By Shire not complying with FOI Request it could be seen as Shire maybe covering up what everyone wants to know and are not being open and honest to the stakeholders (the ratepayers & community).

Link to this

Lachlan Bell left an annotation ()

Some of the documents you originally requested have now been provided by the council for a Supreme Court case against the Promoter Lachlan Bell. I thought they might have been confidential unless under FOI request, but none the less they have been provided. I have asked the council to confirm if the documents should be confidential or not, if they confirm they are not I will post them here for others to use

Link to this

Chris F left an annotation ()

Has there been any follow up in terms of possibly attaching some of the documents that have been provided?

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Buloke Shire Council only: