Copy of advice regarding access to Curtin Detention Centre

Daniel O'Connor made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Home Affairs

The request was partially successful.

From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear Department of Immigration and Border Protection,

A recent ABC news article (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa... reports:

"When the minister’s office became aware of the request the minister sought advice from the Department, ...... and was advised that access would not be appropriate at this time, based on the interests of the good management and safety of the centre."

I seek access to the advice requested and the response to the minister by the department.

Additionally, I seek access to the document(s) which would have been relied upon to provide an accurate response to the minister; such as a recent operational or management report regarding the Curtin detention centre; or an issue register detailing current management or risk issues & the mitigation plans in place.

If possible, I would prefer this request to be treated as an administrative access request.

Yours faithfully,
Daniel O'Connor

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From: FOI


Attachment Acknowledgement of FOI Request.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381; ADF2014/27019

 

Dear Mr O’Connor

 

Please find attached the acknowledgement of receipt for your recent FOI
Request. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Penelope Robb
FOI Helpdesk

FOI and Privacy Policy Section

Parliamentary and Executive Coordination Branch | Immigration and Border
Protection Portfolio

E: [1][email address]

 

UNCLASSIFIED

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From: FOI

UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381 ; ADF2014/27019

 

Dear Daniel O’Connor

 

I refer to your request for access to documents relating to:

 

A recent ABC news article
(<[1]http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa...>)
reports:

 

"When the minister’s office became aware of the request the minister
sought advice from the Department, ...... and was advised that access
would not be appropriate at this time, based on the interests of the good
management and safety of the centre."

 

I seek access to the advice requested and the response to the minister by
the department.

 

Additionally, I seek access to the document(s) which would have been
relied upon to provide an accurate response to the minister; such as a
recent operational or management report regarding the Curtin detention
centre; or an issue register detailing current management or risk issues &
the mitigation plans in place.

 

 

The current due date for your request is Friday 29 August 2014.  Due to
the number of requests currently being processed by our office, we may not
be able to finalise your request by the original due date. 

 

The department seeks your agreement (under s.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 Sunday 28 September 2014.

 

It would assist the department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Thursday 21
August 2014.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Penelope Robb
FOI Helpdesk

FOI and Privacy Policy Section

Parliamentary and Executive Coordination Branch | Immigration and Border
Protection Portfolio

E: [2][email address]

 

 

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED

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intended recipient is prohibited.  DIBP respects your privacy and has
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policy can be viewed on the department's website at www.immi.gov.au.  See:
http://www.immi.gov.au/functional/privac...

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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Hi Daniel,

Just so you know, you don't need to accept a request for extension. You can refuse it if you prefer.

Cheers,

Ben

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From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I consent to the extension; however would also equally be happy to work with you to narrow the scope if that would expedite the request.

Out of curiosity, has the department increased or planned increases in staff to handle the higher workload?

Yours sincerely,

Daniel O'Connor

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Daniel O'Connor left an annotation ()

@Ben, I'm happy to extend them extra time.

I do find it interesting that the minister can request this and get advice in a relatively short period in what must be a fairly busy administrative time (a matter of hours or at most 1-2 days if the media timeline is accurate); but the FOI processes take an order of magnitude longer to get to the identification of documents phase - 19-20 days so far.

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From: FOI


Attachment CCAF form.doc
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Attachment FA140701381 Charges Notice s.29 1.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381; ADF2014/27019

 

Dear Mr O’Connor,

 

I am writing in regards to your FOI request seeking:  

 

A recent ABC news article
(<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa...>)
reports:

 

"When the minister’s office became aware of the request the minister
sought advice from the Department, ...... and was advised that access
would not be appropriate at this time, based on the interests of the good
management and safety of the centre."

 

I seek access to the advice requested and the response to the minister by
the department.

 

Additionally, I seek access to the document(s) which would have been
relied upon to provide an accurate response to the minister; such as a
recent operational or management report regarding the Curtin detention
centre; or an issue register detailing current management or risk issues &
the mitigation plans in place.

 

This email is to advise you of my decision that you are liable to pay a
charge in respect of the processing of your FOI request in accordance with
s.29 of the FOI Act. Please see the attached notice for further
information.  

 

The current due date for your FOI request is 28 September 2014. In
accordance with s.31 of the FOI Act the legislated processing time for
your request is suspended from the date that you are deemed to have been
notified of the charge. Please refer to the attached notice for further
details, including advice on when the processing period for your request
would resume.

 

Timeframe to respond

The FOI Act provides you with 30 days to respond, in writing, to this
notice, which is close of business Sunday 19 October 2014.  However, as
this date falls on a non-working day, s.36(2) of the Acts Interpretation
Act 1901 provides that the latest date you may respond is the next working
day, which is Monday 20 October 2014. 

How to pay:

Details on how to make a payment to the department are included in the
notice. Please ensure that you include your FA Reference number and advise
whether you wish to pay the deposit or the full amount. If this
information is not included with your payment details it may delay the
processing of your request.

 

The deposit or full payment can be paid by cheque, money order, credit
card or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If you choose to pay via EFT or
send your payment via post, please notify the FOI Section at
[1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Steven Hocking

Assistant Director

FOI & Privacy Policy Section

Parliamentary & Executive Coordination Branch | Immigration and Border

Protection Portfolio

T: 02 6264 1007

E: [2][email address]  

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Important Notice: If you have received this email by mistake, please
advise
the sender and delete the message and attachments immediately.  This
email,
including attachments, may contain confidential, sensitive, legally
privileged
and/or copyright information.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination
or other use of this information by persons or entities other than the
intended recipient is prohibited.  DIBP respects your privacy and has
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  The official departmental privacy
policy can be viewed on the department's website at www.immi.gov.au.  See:
http://www.immi.gov.au/functional/privac...

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From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I agree to the charges, and have paid the deposit.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel O'Connor

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From: Timothy Fleming


Attachment image001.jpg
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Attachment FA 14 07 01381 Extension of time request under s 15AB SEC UNCLASSIFIED.html
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Our reference: RQ14/02122

Agency reference: FA 14/07/01381

Mr Daniel O’Connor

 

Dear Mr O’Connor

 

Extension of time request under s15AB

On 23 September 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
(DIBP) requested further time to make a decision on your FOI request of 30
July 2014.

This request was on the basis that the processing period is insufficient
to deal adequately with your request, because it is complex and/or
voluminous.

The Information Commissioner has decided to grant the DIBP an extension of
time for this request. This means, assuming your request is not withdrawn
or the charges reviewed, the new due date will be the 28 October 2014.
This decision has been made under s15AB(2) of the Freedom of Information
Act 1982 (Cth) (the Act).

Review rights

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled this matter, you may
complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This service is free, and you can
contact the office on 1300 362 072 or visit [1]www.ombudsman.gov.au.

If you would like to discuss this matter you may contact me on 02 9284
9731 or via email [2][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

Timothy Fleming| Investigations Officer

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 |www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9731

Fax: +61 2 9284 9666

Email: [3][email address]

 

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

[4]Description: Description: Description: Description: Description:
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From: FOI


Attachment 2 attachment CCAF form.doc
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Attachment FA 140701381 O Connor Decision signed.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381; ADF2014/27019

 

Dear Mr O’Connor,

 

I refer to your FOI request received on 30 July 2014, seeking access to
the following:

 

A recent ABC news article
(<[1]http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa...>)
reports:

 

"When the minister’s office became aware of the request the minister
sought advice from the Department, ...... and was advised that access
would not be appropriate at this time, based on the interests of the good
management and safety of the centre."

 

I seek access to the advice requested and the response to the minister by
the department.

 

Additionally, I seek access to the document(s) which would have been
relied upon to provide an accurate response to the minister; such as a
recent operational or management report regarding the Curtin detention
centre; or an issue register detailing current management or risk issues &
the mitigation plans in place.

 

I have made a decision on this request. Please see attached my signed
decision letter, decision record and schedule of documents.

 

Outstanding payment

On 23 September 2014 you agreed to pay the charge as outlined in the
charges notice issued to you on 19 September 2014. The Department is not
required to release documents until the charges have been paid in full. I
note that you have paid a deposit of $20.00. Therefore, you are required
to pay the remainder of the charge, being $37.73, before I can provide you
with the documents listed in the schedule of documents.

 

Details on how to make a payment were contained in the charges notice. I
have reattached a credit card authorisation from for your convenience.

 

This request has now been closed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Steven Hocking

Assistant Director

FOI & Privacy Policy Section

Parliamentary & Executive Coordination Branch | Immigration and Border

Protection Portfolio

T: 02 6264 1007

E: [2][email address]  

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Important Notice: If you have received this email by mistake, please
advise
the sender and delete the message and attachments immediately.  This
email,
including attachments, may contain confidential, sensitive, legally
privileged
and/or copyright information.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination
or other use of this information by persons or entities other than the
intended recipient is prohibited.  DIBP respects your privacy and has
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  The official departmental privacy
policy can be viewed on the department's website at www.immi.gov.au.  See:
http://www.immi.gov.au/functional/privac...

References

Visible links
1. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa...
2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Please provide the documentation, the payment was made 6 days ago.

During this process you have sought every delay open to you; please do not delay things further.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel O'Connor

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From: FOI


Attachment FA140701391 Documents Redacted.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381; ADF2014/27019

Mr O’Connor,

The FOI Act requires the department to issue you with a decision within the statutory timeframe. You were provided with a decision within time. We do not release documents to applicants until we have been advised by our finance team that the payment has been processed. Unfortunately there was a delay during this process. This was not intentional.

The documents are attached.

Regards

Steven Hocking
Assistant Director
FOI & Privacy Policy Section
Parliamentary & Executive Coordination Branch | Immigration and Border Protection Portfolio
T: 02 6264 1007

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From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear Department of Immigration and Border Protection,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Immigration and Border Protection's handling of my FOI request 'Copy of advice regarding access to Curtin Detention Centre'.

I have two points that I wish to have reviewed:
* The amount of delays sought/the reasons for seeking them vs internal service standards and obligations under the act (sec 93A)
* The applicability of 22(1)(a)(ii) to the released material.

With regard to the delays sought; I note that:
- The estimated amount of review for this task was relatively low, inclusive decision making time

- The extension sought from the OAIC differ in reason to the extension sought from me, citing that it was a 'Complex or voluminous requests (s 15AB)' as a key reason for requiring the extension; *after* the estimated amount of work had already been determined; stating it was a 4 page email chain and relatively little decision making time.

- The use of 89/90 days in order to execute that decision making

- How this compares to the internal standards, measures and guidance by agencies such as the OAIC. Specifically, guidance like:
http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform... vs section 93A of the FOI act.

At this point, I do not feel that the demonstrated actions of the department have complied with Sec 93A of the act; and ask that you review the actions taken here.

Even if the department's activities are entirely in good faith every step of the way here, it may well highlight a crippling lack of resources and capability for the department to comply with the act on more complex requests; which surely is a risk to the department's ability to meet its legal obligations.

With regard to the material released; the agreed scope of my request was:
- A copy of the *advice requested and the response*
- Any relevant documentation that was used to formulate that answer (such as a management report highlighting saftey concerns, or risk/incident register)

Use of 22(1)(a)(ii) - "that to give access to a document would disclose information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request for access" - implies that the "advice requested" is not relevant to the agreed scope.

I feel that does not pass the criteria for 'reasonably irrelevant', particularly when the department has acknowledged in writing an understanding of my request.

Secondly, the unredacted advice actually provided disagrees with the public statements by the Minister's spokepeople in the media.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/sa...
"When the minister's office became aware of the request the minister sought advice from the Department," the statement said.

"The minister sought advice from his Department on visitor access... and was advised that access would not be appropriate at this time, based on the interests of the good management and safety of the centre."

Given what has been released, I can only assume that the redacted content refers to these issues of management/safety and are extremely relevant to understanding the context.

In the original request, it was quite clear what was being sought; the context in which it was being sought; and what information would be most relevant.

Not being privy to the redacted content, I can only assume either the media statements by the minister's department ignored the advice of the department, or (more likely) Sec 22(1)(a)(ii) has been misapplied in this request.

I note that at no time during the 89 days of decision making was it indicated by the department that there was any misunderstanding of the core request, scope or context; no communication asking for clarity or what exactly was seen as relevant.

For the above reasons, I feel the act has not been properly applied by the department, particularly with regard to the "reasonableness" criteria required by sec 22(1)(a)(ii).

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Daniel O'Connor

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From: FOI

UNCLASSIFIED
 
Our references: FA 14/07/01381-R1; ADF2014/27019
 
via email: [1][FOI #727 email]
 
 
Dear Mr O’Connor
 
Thank you for your request for internal review.
 
Your internal review request for a review of the way the Department has
interpreted the scope of the request has been accepted as valid from
Tuesday 6 November 2014. The 30-day processing period for this review ends
at close of business on Thursday 6 December 2014.
 
Your request has been allocated to me for decision. I will write to you
shortly about the next steps in the internal review.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Angela O’Neil
Authorised decision maker
FOI and Privacy Policy Section
Parliamentary and Executive Coordination Branch
Immigration and Border Protection Portfolio
 
Email: [email address]
 
 
 

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From: FOI

UNCLASSIFIED
 
Our references: FA 14/07/01381-R1; ADF2014/27019
 
via email: [1][FOI #727 email]
 
 
Dear Mr O’Connor
 
Please note that the end of the 30 day period for your request ends at
close of business on Thursday 4 December 2014. Please excuse the error in
the previous email.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Angela O’Neil
Authorised decision maker
FOI and Privacy Policy Section
Parliamentary and Executive Coordination Branch
Immigration and Border Protection Portfolio
 
Email: [email address]
 
 
 
UNCLASSIFIED

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From: FOI

UNCLASSIFIED
 
Our references: FA 14/07/01381-R1; ADF2014/27019
 
via email: [1][FOI #727 email]
 
 
Dear Mr O’Connor
 
I am writing to advise you that your internal review request has been
allocated to a new review officer, Ms Linda Rossiter, Director FOI
Section.
 
I previously advised you that the end of the processing period for your
review ended today. However, that was an error. Please accept my apologies
for this further error.
 
The 30 days provided under the Act end on Saturday 6 December 2014.
However, as the period ends on a ‘Saturday’, s.36(2) of the Acts
Interpretation Act 1901 allows the agency to give you the decision on the
next day that is not a ‘Saturday…’. Therefore, the latest date the
Department can provide you with the decision is Monday 8 December 2014.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Angela O’Neil
Authorised decision maker
FOI and Privacy Policy Section
Parliamentary and Executive Coordination Branch
Immigration and Border Protection Portfolio
 
Email: [email address]
 
 

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From: FOI


Attachment FA 14 07 01381 R1 Internal Review Decision.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Our references: FA 14/07/01381-R1; ADF2014/27019

 

 

Dear Mr O’Connor

 

I refer to your request for internal review FA 14/07/01381-R1 received on
Friday, 7 November 2014, seeking review of the decision from the
Department of 29 October 2014.

 

I have made a final decision on this request. Please see attached my
signed decision letter and decision record.

 

This request has now been closed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Linda Rossiter
Freedom of Information

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Important Notice: If you have received this email by mistake, please
advise
the sender and delete the message and attachments immediately.  This
email,
including attachments, may contain confidential, sensitive, legally
privileged
and/or copyright information.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination
or other use of this information by persons or entities other than the
intended recipient is prohibited.  DIBP respects your privacy and has
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  The official departmental privacy
policy can be viewed on the department's website at www.immi.gov.au.  See:
http://www.immi.gov.au/functional/privac...

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From: Daniel O'Connor

Delivered

Dear FOI,

It is now past the revised deadline.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel O'Connor

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From: FOI


Attachment FA 14 07 01381 R1 Internal Review Decision.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr O'Connor

I sent my decision at 4.26pm yesterday, 8 December 2014. It does not appear to have arrived so I am resending. Please see below and the attached.

Linda Rossiter

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

Our references: FA 14/07/01381-R1; ADF2014/27019

Dear Mr O’Connor

I refer to your request for internal review FA 14/07/01381-R1 received on Friday, 7 November 2014, seeking review of the decision from the Department of 29 October 2014.

I have made a final decision on this request. Please see attached my signed decision letter and decision record.

This request has now been closed.

Yours sincerely

Linda Rossiter
Freedom of Information
Department of Immigration and Border Protection

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

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