Department’s Executive Management Board Minutes

Julie made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Veterans' Affairs

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Veterans' Affairs of their handling of this request.

From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

I seek copy of all the DVA Executive Management Board Minutes for FY16/17.

Yours faithfully,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Attachment image001.png
15K Download


Dear Julie,

 

Acknowledgement of FOI Request – FOI 24297

 

I refer to your request to access information held by our Department under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).  The Department received
your request on 31 August 2018. In accordance with section 15(5)(b) of the
FOI Act, the Department has 30 days to process your request. As such, a
decision on your request is due by 1 October 2018.

 

If you have any questions about your FOI matter, please contact us using
the following details:

 

Post: Legal Services & Assurance, Department of Veterans’ Affairs

GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

Facsimile: (02) 6289 6337

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

In all communications please quote reference FOI 24297.

 

Kind Regards,

 

 

Information Law | Legal Services & Assurance Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

GPO Box 9998 Canberra ACT 2601

E: [2][email address]

 

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

 

 

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From: INFORMATION.LAW
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Attachment FOI 24297 Decision and Statement of Reasons.pdf
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Good evening Julie,

FOI 24297 Decision and Statement of Reasons

I refer to your FOI request received by the Department on 31 August 2018. Please find attached the decision in respond to your request.

Kind Regards,
 
Information Law Team
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [email address] | W: www.dva.gov.au

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From: Julie

Delivered

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Veterans' Affairs's handling of my FOI request 'Department’s Executive Management Board Minutes'.

The delegate refused all access under ss 47C & 47E(d) of the Act, citing any release would contrary to the public interest, have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of DVA, and any release would substantially disclose deliberative matter that would be misunderstood by members of the public that would again have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of DVA.

Exempting all the contents of the documents in scope, including mundane things like attendees, agenda item titles, and decisions made (and the like), necessitates a very high evidentiary bar to be met, which on the evidence before me, is not satisfied.

The reasoning given is essentially generic template text with almost no specificity, and is perfunctory and opaque. It draws a very long bow, despite being very diffuse and non-specific.

While it may be possible, for example, that the meetings of the Board involved possible lengthy deliberative discussions, Minutes are not transcripts and it is not the convention for them to record in minutia discussions, but rather to record decisions and outcomes reached, and tasks and activities assigned - this is not deliberative material.

It is possible, but not shown by DVA, that some parts within agenda item topics may be potentially within scope of an exemption ground, but to then extend that to cover all the minutes in totality is untenable.

This is especially the case given that I understand these Minutes are circulated beyond just the Board members, and are not subject to the document security/sensitivity classifications that should apply if the claimed prejudice effects were likely.

I also note that there appears to be a culture of hostile resistance to the lawful access to documents via FOI from DVA, and that this culture appears to be a factor in this decision.

I therefore seek Internal Review of the decision of the delegate, for being too heavy handed and not in line with the objects and aims and purposes of the FOI Act, which is to exempt only where necessary and to always seek to release something, even if part of a document is genuinely exempt.

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

Yours faithfully,

Julie

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From: INFORMATION.ACCESS
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Good morning.

Please see to the following.

Regards.

Linda Liu
Assistant Information Access Officer
National Information Access Processing Team (NIAPT)
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Tel : (02) 9213 7629 Fax: (02) 9213 7400

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From: Julie

Delivered

To INFORMATION.ACCESS,

The deadline for the internal review decision has passed, for a few weeks now, without any decision notice having being provided by the Department.

This is really inappropriate and just unprofessional - especially since the due date would have been flagged by LEX (your FOI management system).

This deemed affirmation does not relieve the DVA of the responsibility to give a proper decision notice.

Sincerely,

Julie

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From: Julie

Delivered

As the Department of Veterans‘ Affairs has repeatedly failed to respond, following its failure to provide an Internal Review decision, I have had no choice but to refer this unethical behaviour to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

I would highlight the unprofessional bad faith behaviour by Veterans’ Affairs, in repeatiedly forcing decisions to deemed status, then continuing to ignore the Department’s obligation to provide a decision notice.

Julie

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