Correspondence within POCU regarding interested party expenditure in QAPE and other information

Cail Young made this Freedom of Information request to Screen Australia

The request was refused by Screen Australia.

From: Cail Young

Delivered

Dear Screen Australia,

I would like to request copies of any documents held, including internal communication amongst staff members of POCU and any independent assessors, concerning:

* Validity of arms-length transactions during assessment of Offset certifications, especially:

* instances where applicants' claim(s) for QAPE were denied specifically as a result of an expense being determined as not meeting an arms-length test.

* instances where where Fulcrum Media Finance provided cashflow services, if known.

* instances where Deluxe, Digital Pictures, DDP Studios (or any other antecedent business to these) provided post-production services and/or financing to the film, if known.

* instances where Panavision Australia (or related companies) provided camera and/or other equipment hire services to the film, if known.

* Any other discussions regarding setting rules or guidelines for how to assess arms-length transactions during certification.

I would also like to request any documents held containing:

* Statistics showing a breakdown of final certificates (by quantity and/or value) issued to applicants using any of the above-mentioned companies for cashflow and/or services versus applicants using other suppliers or financiers, if known.

* Other data produced, more detailed than that available on the website, regarding the nature (such as budget range, type of project, first-time versus repeat producer, e.g.) of recipients of Producer Offset certificates, if known.

I only request documents regarding certificates issued or to be issued under the 'new rules' since 2011.

Yours faithfully,
Cail Young

Link to this

From: Nick Coyle
Screen Australia


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Dear Cail,

 

Thank you for your FOI request to Screen Australia, which we received on
Thursday, 3 September 2015.  In general, the FOI Act requires us to
respond within 30 days from the date of receipt of the request, unless the
Act allows for an extension.  Accordingly, we will respond to you by
Tuesday 6 October 2015.

 

Best regards,

 

 

Nick Coyle
Governance Manager

[1]cid:image011.gif@01CED108.109F4520

Level 7, 45 Jones Street
Ultimo NSW 2007
[2]View location

T + 61 2 8113 1056
M + 61 412 679 230

[3]screenaustralia.gov.au

 

 

Dear Screen Australia,

 

I would like to request copies of any documents held, including internal
communication amongst staff members of POCU and any independent assessors,
concerning:

 

* Validity of arms-length transactions during assessment of Offset
certifications, especially:

 

* instances where applicants' claim(s) for QAPE were denied specifically
as a result of an expense being determined as not meeting an arms-length
test.

 

* instances where where Fulcrum Media Finance provided cashflow services,
if known.

 

* instances where Deluxe, Digital Pictures, DDP Studios  (or any other
antecedent business to these) provided post-production services and/or
financing to the film, if known.

 

* instances where Panavision Australia (or related companies) provided
camera and/or other equipment hire services to the film, if known.

 

* Any other discussions regarding setting rules or guidelines for how to
assess arms-length transactions during certification.

 

I would also like to request any documents held containing:

 

* Statistics showing a breakdown of final certificates (by quantity and/or
value) issued to applicants using any of the above-mentioned companies for
cashflow and/or services versus applicants using other suppliers or
financiers, if known.

 

* Other data produced, more detailed than that available on the website,
regarding the nature (such as budget range, type of project, first-time
versus repeat producer, e.g.) of recipients of Producer Offset
certificates, if known.

 

I only request documents regarding certificates issued or to be issued
under the 'new rules' since 2011.

 

Yours faithfully,

Cail Young

 

[4]cid:image002.png@01CED108.109F4520[5]cid:image003.png@01CED108.109F4520[6]cid:image004.png@01CED108.109F4520

 

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From: Grace Tauber
Screen Australia


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Attachment Ltr to Cail Young FOI request 15 Sept 2015.pdf
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Dear Mr Young,

 

Please see the attached response to your request of 3 September 2015.

 

Kind regards,

Grace Tauber
Legal Co-ordinator / Executive Assistant

[1]Screen-Australia-Lockup-Orange-RGB.gif

Level 7, 45 Jones Street
Ultimo NSW 2007
[2]View location

T + 61 2 8113 5825

[3]screenaustralia.gov.au

[4]http://uploads.wisestamp.com/13eea5dcbef...

 

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From: Cail Young

Delivered

Dear Nick Coyle,

Thank you for your response.

Without going so far as to request a formal review, I'd like to clarify my request if that may be of assistance.

Addressing your reply points as numbered:

2) I perhaps failed to format my query clearly. You have not quoted my paragraph asking for "copies of any documents held, including internal communication amongst staff members of POCU and any
independent assessors, concerning"

3) If one takes that quoted paragraph into account, then at the very least 2(a)(i) and 2(a)(v) can surely be delivered to me without identifying any specific companies by delivering redacted (if required) document(s) as enabled by section 22 of the FOI act.

Specifically I am asking for internal discussions regarding the guidelines as to what constitutes an arms-length transaction in the view of the POCU, and examples of the policy being applied to real Offest applications. I am aware of the policy documents already posted on your website.

To be clear, despite the loose wording of the original request, I am not asking for documents that identify or could be used to identify the related parties in these discussions. I was listing the companies mentioned to limit the scope of the request but I can imagine that in doing so I have hit the secrecy wall as one could then possibly figure out the parties. So let me retract 2(a)(ii-iv) and merely ask for all related discussions, redacted as necessary.

I will submit a new version of the 2(b) request that's less problematic, so please disregard it for now.

5) Thank you for the link to the Drama Report, I hadn't come across it in my research on the website and it contains much of the detail I was after regarding 2(c). I know it isn't in the scope of the request, but if you could let me know when the 14/15 versions of these are scheduled to be published I'd appreciate it!

Yours sincerely,

Cail Young

Link to this

From: Nick Coyle
Screen Australia

Thank you for your email.

 

I am on leave at present, and will return to the office on Monday, 28
September 2015.  I will periodically be checking my emails while I am
away.

 

Please contact Susie Cortez on 02-8113 1011 or
[email address] if you require assistance.

 

Best regards,

 

Nick Coyle

Governance Manager

 

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From: Jane Supit
Screen Australia


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Dear Mr Young

 

I refer to your email dated 15 September 2015 (below), clarifying the
information that your originally requested on 3 September 2015 under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), and the letter to you from Nick
Coyle, dated 28 September 2015, responding to your original request.

 

I have reviewed Mr Coyle’s 28 September response and confirm that although
the letter did not specifically quote your original request so as to refer
to ‘any documents held, including internal communication amongst staff
members of POCU and any independent assessors…’ the response was
nonetheless provided on the basis that this was the type of information
you were requesting in respect of each of the categories of information
set out in your request. Accordingly the response remains the same.

 

With respect to your further request to provide redacted information on
particular assessments made under Division 376 of the Income Tax
Assessment Act 1997, I confirm that none of this information can be
provided, even in a redacted form. This is because all information held by
Screen Australia in relation to an application for the producer offset,
including all records of information made by Screen Australia in respect
of an application, is ‘protected information’. It is an offence to
disclose this protected information in any form under section 355-25(1) of
the Taxation Administration Act 1953 and for this reason this information
is exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act as Mr Coyle outlined in his 28
September letter.

 

I trust this clarifies the position on our handling of all information
that we hold in connection with producer offset applications. Because of
the secrecy around individuals’ tax information, all information that
Screen Australia provides to the public must be general in its nature. In
view of this we provide open access to published fact sheets and
guidelines and we also publish our annual reports and the Drama Report so
that the public has information about the administration of the producer
offset. If you have a project for which you wish to apply for the producer
offset, POCU is available to respond to your specific questions and is
contactable at:

[email address]

 

Your sincerely

Jane Supit

 

Jane Supit
Head of Legal Services

[1]Screen-Australia-Logo-Blue-RGB.gif

Level 7, 45 Jones Street
Ultimo NSW 2007
[2]View location

T + 61 2 8113 5839

[3]screenaustralia.gov.au

[4]http://uploads.wisestamp.com/13eea5dcbef...

 

Rights of Review

Internal review

1.         Pursuant to section 54 of the FOI Act, you have the right to
apply for an internal review of my decision insofar as it refuses access
to Document 14.  If you make an application for internal review, it will
be conducted by an officer of Screen Australia (not myself as the original
decision maker) who will make a fresh decision on the merits of the case.

2.         You must apply in writing for an internal review of the
decision within 30 days after the day on which this decision is received
by you (or any longer period which we agree to). 

3.         No particular form is required to apply for internal review
although it is desirable to set out in the application the grounds on
which you consider that the decision should be reviewed.

4.         Application for an internal review of the decision should be
addressed to my attention.  I will then ensure the review is conducted by
the appropriate person.

 

External review - the Information Commissioner

5.         Either following, or as an alternative to, internal review, you
may seek a review of my decision by the Australian Information
Commissioner (AIC) in accordance with paragraph 9 or 10 below. The Office
of the AIC can be contacted by email at [7][email address], or by
telephone on 1300 363 992. Requests to the AIC for review must be made in
writing.  The AIC’s addresses are GPO Box 2999, Canberra ACT 2601, or GPO
Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.

6.         If you make an application for internal review and either the
original decision to refuse access is confirmed, or you are not notified
of a decision within 30 days of Screen Australia’s receipt of the
application (or such longer period as the AIC may grant Screen Australia),
you will be entitled to make an application within a further 60 days to
the AIC for a review of the original decision.

7.         You are also entitled to apply to the AIC for a review of my
decision without applying for an internal review.  This application must
be made to the AIC within 60 days of receiving notice of my decision.

8.         A party to a review to the AIC may appeal to the Federal Court
of Australia, on a question of law, from a decision of the AIC.

9.         If the AIC confirms the original decision, or declines to
review your case because it is satisfied that the interests of the
administration of the FOI Act make it desirable that the decision be
considered by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), you may apply to
the AAT (see below) for review of the decision.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal

10.      The AAT is a completely independent review body with the power to
make a fresh decision in response to your request.

11.      Your application to the AAT should be accompanied by an
application fee (currently $861) unless you are granted legal aid or you
come within an exempt category of persons.  The AAT Registrar or Deputy
Registrar may waive the fee on the ground that its payment would impose
financial hardship on you.  The fee may be refunded where you are
successful.  The Tribunal cannot award costs either in your favour or
against you, although it may in some circumstances recommend payment by
the Attorney-General of some or all of your costs. 

12.      Further information is available from the AAT Registry, telephone
1300 366 700.

 

Complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman

13.      You may complain to the Ombudsman concerning action taken by
Screen Australia in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions
under the FOI Act. There is no fee for making a complaint. The Ombudsman
will make a completely independent assessment of your complaint.

14.      You may complain to the Ombudsman either orally or in writing.
The Ombudsman’s address is:

Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: 1300 362 072

15.      You may wish to consult with the Ombudsman’s office as to whether
it is preferable to seek internal review prior to seeking the assistance
of the Ombudsman.

 

 

 

 

From: Cail Young <[8][FOI #1206 email]>
Date: 15 September 2015 10:52:24 GMT+3
To: Nick Coyle <[9][email address]>
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Correspondence within POCU
regarding interested party expenditure in QAPE and other information

Dear Nick Coyle,

Thank you for your response.

Without going so far as to request a formal review, I'd like to clarify
my request if that may be of assistance.

Addressing your reply points as numbered:

2) I perhaps failed to format my query clearly. You have not quoted my
paragraph asking for "copies of any documents held, including internal
communication amongst staff members of POCU and any
independent assessors, concerning"

3) If one takes that quoted paragraph into account, then at the very
least 2(a)(i) and 2(a)(v) can surely be delivered to me without
identifying any specific companies by delivering redacted (if required)
document(s) as enabled by section 22 of the FOI act.

Specifically I am asking for internal discussions regarding the
guidelines as to what constitutes an arms-length transaction in the view
of the POCU, and examples of the policy being applied to real Offest
applications. I am aware of the policy documents already posted on your
website.

To be clear, despite the loose wording of the original request, I am not
asking for documents that identify or could be used to identify the
related parties in these discussions. I was listing the companies
mentioned to limit the scope of the request but I can imagine that in
doing so I have hit the secrecy wall as one could then possibly figure
out the parties. So let me retract 2(a)(ii-iv) and merely ask for all
related discussions, redacted as necessary.

I will submit a new version of the 2(b) request that's less problematic,
so please disregard it for now.

5) Thank you for the link to the Drama Report, I hadn't come across it
in my research on the website and it contains much of the detail I was
after regarding 2(c). I know it isn't in the scope of the request, but
if you could let me know when the 14/15 versions of these are scheduled
to be published I'd appreciate it!

Yours sincerely,

Cail Young

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From: Cail Young

Delivered

Dear Screen Australia,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Screen Australia's handling of my FOI request 'Correspondence within POCU regarding interested party expenditure in QAPE and other information'.

I would like to know the basis in law for Screen Australia considering the entirety of all information related to an Offset application, even if partially redacted, to be protected by the taxation secrecy exemption.

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,

Cail Young

Link to this

From: Nick Coyle
Screen Australia


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Dear Mr Young,

 

Please see attached response from Fiona Cameron to your request for
internal review.

 

Best regards,

 

Nick Coyle
Governance Manager

[1]cid:image011.gif@01CED108.109F4520

Level 7, 45 Jones Street
Ultimo NSW 2007
[2]View location

T + 61 2 8113 1056
M + 61 412 679 230

[3]screenaustralia.gov.au

[4]cid:image002.png@01CED108.109F4520[5]cid:image003.png@01CED108.109F4520[6]cid:image004.png@01CED108.109F4520

 

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Screen Australia only: