DisabilityCare Australia Fund Allocations for 2016-2017

Brian O'Hart made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Social Services

The request was partially successful.

From: Brian O'Hart

Delivered

Dear Department of Social Services,
Using the data from the Commonwealth Budget 2014-2015, paper 3,Financial Relations. Part 2, National Partnership on Payments from the DisabilityCare Australia Fund and population statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS 3101.0, State Population figures at the end of the June quarter,2015 I calculated the per capita allocation for each State and Territory for the 2016 -2017 period. Stats as below:
Population Fund Allocation Per. Capita.
NSW 7,618,200 $56.9m. $7.46
VIC. 5,938,100 $44.0m. $7.40
Qld. 4,779,400 $35.6m. $7.44
SA. 1,698,600 $13.1m $7.71
WA 2,591,600 $18.4m. $7.09
TAS. 516,600 $4.1m. $7.93
NT. 244,600 $1.7m. $6.95
ACT. 390,800 $14.7m $37.61
It was my understanding on correspondence I received from former Treasurer ie. Hon C. Bowen .MP.that DCA funds distributed, "will be on a population share basis". Please advise why the ACT will receive the amount of $37.61 per.capita while the other States and Territories will only receive funds within the range of $6.95 -$7.93 ?
A second query: Why will NSW receive $161,800,000. in 2017-2018 while the next largest amount is only $45.5m. to be allocated to Victoria ?
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully
Brian O'Hart

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Thank you for contacting the Freedom of Information (FOI) inbox of the
Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS). Your email, should it be
a request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act
1982, will be actioned by the appropriate team member.  

If your email is for any other enquiry you should direct it to
[1][email address]. It will not be actioned from this inbox.

GENERAL INFORMATION

If you are seeking general information about FOI, you may find the
following websites useful:

[2]http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...

[3]http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

PROCESS

An FOI officer has received your email and it will be actioned
accordingly. In the case of a valid FOI request, you can expect us to
provide an acknowledgment that the request has been received as soon as
practicable, but in any case no later than 14 days after today.

REQUESTS OUTSIDE OFFICE HOURS

Please note that if this message has been received outside our business
hours of 9am to 5pm (Eastern Standard Time), Monday to Friday or on
a public holiday, your request will be actioned on the next business day.

Kind regards,

DSS FOI Team
Email: [4][Department of Social Services request email] 

 

References

Visible links
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2. http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...
4. mailto:[Department of Social Services request email]

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear Mr O’Hart,

 

As it is currently framed, your request does not meet the requirements of
a valid request under section 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act). It does not specify that your request is for the purposes
of the Commonwealth FOI Act, and you have not provided information as is
reasonably necessary for the Department to identify relevant documents.
The FOI Act provides a right to seek access to documents, but not to
information generally.

 

Your request will therefore be treated as an informal request outside of
the FOI Act.

 

It is noted that the questions you have asked in this correspondence are
the same as that of the correspondence you submitted to the Department on
31 March 2016 (as at
[1]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d....
The Department will endeavour to provide you with relevant information
which addresses your questions in due course.

 

Additionally, I note that you refer to ‘Disability Care Australia’ which
was re-named the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in 2013. The
NDIA is an independent statutory agency, which comes within the Social
Services portfolio. Its role is to implement the National Disability
Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and for further information about the trial and
roll-out of the NDIS, you may wish to go to [2]www.ndis.gov.au.

 

Kind regards,

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

Information Team

Commercial, Disability, Housing and Information Law Branch

Legal Services Group

Department of Social Services
E: [3][Department of Social Services request email]

 

The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of
country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea
and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to the
elders both past and present.

 

 

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From: Brian O'Hart

Delivered

Dear FOI,
In your previous email it stated, " you have not provided information as is reasonably necessary for the Department to identify relevant documents ".
In my editing the original request I gave the source of my information and named the documentation ie.
1. Commonwealth Budget 2014 -15 paper 3, Financial Relations Part 2. National Partnership on Payment from the DisabilityCare Australia Fund.
2. Population Data : Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS 3101.0 population of States at the end of the June quarter 2015.
3. Correspondence quoted : Former Treasurer named - Hon. C. Bowen MP.

I also wish to advise that on approx. 4 occasions I telephoned your office and was put through to Claire McLean's answering machine ,left a message seeking clarification on any deficiencies in my request and left my telephone contact number . However there was no response forthcoming.
Please advise.
Brian O'Hart

Yours sincerely,

Brian O'Hart

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Thank you for contacting the Freedom of Information (FOI) inbox of the
Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS). Your email, should it be
a request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act
1982, will be actioned by the appropriate team member.  

If your email is for any other enquiry you should direct it to
[1][email address]. It will not be actioned from this inbox.

GENERAL INFORMATION

If you are seeking general information about FOI, you may find the
following websites useful:

[2]http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...

[3]http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...

PROCESS

An FOI officer has received your email and it will be actioned
accordingly. In the case of a valid FOI request, you can expect us to
provide an acknowledgment that the request has been received as soon as
practicable, but in any case no later than 14 days after today.

REQUESTS OUTSIDE OFFICE HOURS

Please note that if this message has been received outside our business
hours of 9am to 5pm (Eastern Standard Time), Monday to Friday or on
a public holiday, your request will be actioned on the next business day.

Kind regards,

DSS FOI Team
Email: [4][Department of Social Services request email] 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.dss.gov.au/contact/freedom-of...
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-inform...
4. mailto:[Department of Social Services request email]

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear Mr O'Hart

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Internal review is not available to you at this time, and neither is
external review by the Information Commissioner. This is because the
Department has not made a reviewable decision under the FOI Act, as your
requests to date have been invalid in accordance with section 15 of the
FOI Act.

 

A valid request must do all of the following things – it must:

 

·        be in writing and give details of where notices under the Act may
be sent (your request did this);

·        state that the request is an application for the purposes of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Commonwealth). Neither of your requests
did this. A request must specify which legislation you seek documents
under, because many states and territories also have freedom of
information legislation, and simply making the request to a Commonwealth
agency via the Right to Know website does not actually remove this
ambiguity or make a request valid under legislation;

·        provide such information concerning the documents being requested
as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the
Department to identify them.  You also did not do this.

 

As the Department previously advised you, your previous requests did not
actually seek documents, only information. The FOI Act provides a right to
seek access to documents held by the Department, not information
generally. Your request did refer to identifiable source documents, as you
point out, but your requests did not seek those documents (it appears you
already have access to them as they are either publicly available or are
correspondence sent to you by the former Treasurer).

Your request asked the following two questions:

o   “Please advise why the ACT will receive the amount of $37.61 per
capita while the other States and Territories will only receive funds
within the range of $6.95 -$7.93?”

o   “Why will NSW receive $161,800,000 in 2017-2018 while the next largest
amount is only $45.5m to be allocated to Victoria?”

 

These questions do not provide sufficient information as is reasonably
necessary to identify existing documents which we could provide you with
access to. You are asking questions about the rationale for the Australian
Government’s funding arrangements – you are not asking for documents or
for information which can be found in identifiable documents.

 

These however are legitimate enquiries to make of the Australian
Government and, as we have advised you, the Department is endeavouring to
provide the information which addresses your questions as soon as is
practicable. It will do this administratively i.e. outside the scope of
the FOI Act, because your requests to date do not meet the requirements of
the FOI Act. The Information Commissioner also encourages agencies to
provide information by administrative means where it is possible and
appropriate to do so. This is the course of action the Department is
taking with your request for information.

 

The Department also advised you that the primary agency to seek
information about the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS) is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). I again invite
you to review the information that is already publicly available about the
NDIS on the NDIA website – [1]www.ndis.gov.au

 

I note your complaint about being unable to reach me on my direct line. I
apologise as I was unavailable last week due to a period of leave.
However, the Department does not make the telephone numbers of its staff
available in correspondence which will be published on the Right to Know
website, or otherwise make them publicly available, for privacy reasons.
The preferred method of contacting the Department to discuss FOI matters
is via our email address – [2][Department of Social Services request email].

 

I hope the information in this email is useful to you.

 

Kind regards,

 

Clare McLean

Principal Legal Officer and FOI Coordinator

Commercial, Disability, Housing and Information Law Branch

Legal Services Group

Department of Social Services

[Department of Social Services request email]

 

DSS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia,
and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our
respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and
present.            

 

Note: This email and any attachments may contain confidential or legally
privileged information (and neither are waived or lost if this email has
been sent to you by mistake).  If you are not the intended recipient, you
must not use, disclose, copy or retain it.  If you have received it in
error, please let me know by reply email and then delete this email from
your system and do not retain any copy.  Recipients within DSS should seek
assistance from DSS Legal before disseminating this email to third
parties.

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From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear Mr O’Hart,

 

Thank you for your emails dated 31 March 2016 and 10 April 2016. The
Department provides the following response to the questions you have asked
about funding arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS), particularly in respect of allocations to States and Territories.

 

The DisabilityCare Australia Fund Act 2013 includes a maximum amount that
can be credited to the States and Territories in each financial year
between 2014-15 and 2023-24.  It begins at $825 million in 2014-15 and
increases by 3.5 per cent each year. 

 

This maximum amount in each financial year has been divided among (or
allocated to) each State and Territory based on population shares in the
2011 Census.

 

The amount, and the method for working out the amount, of their allocation
that each State and Territory will receive in a given year is currently
under negotiation, but has yet to be agreed between the States and
Territories and the Commonwealth.  Estimates of the amounts each State and
Territory would receive were published in the 2015-16 Budget (specifically
on page 44 of the Federal Financial Relations Budget Paper No.3 2015-16). 
This was not an estimate of the full allocation for each State and
Territory in each financial year.

 

I hope this information is of assistance to you.

 

Yours sincerely,

Clare McLean

Principal Legal Officer and FOI Coordinator

Commercial, Disability, Housing and Information Law Branch

Legal Services Group

Department of Social Services
[1][Department of Social Services request email]

 

DSS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia,
and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our
respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and
present.            

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of Social Services

Dear Mr O’Hart,

 

Thank you for your emails dated 31 March 2016 and 10 April 2016. The
Department provides the following response to the questions you have asked
about funding arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS), particularly in respect of allocations to States and Territories.

 

The DisabilityCare Australia Fund Act 2013 includes a maximum amount that
can be credited to the States and Territories in each financial year
between 2014-15 and 2023-24.  It begins at $825 million in 2014-15 and
increases by 3.5 per cent each year. 

 

This maximum amount in each financial year has been divided among (or
allocated to) each State and Territory based on population shares in the
2011 Census.

 

The amount, and the method for working out the amount, of their allocation
that each State and Territory will receive in a given year is currently
under negotiation, but has yet to be agreed between the States and
Territories and the Commonwealth.  Estimates of the amounts each State and
Territory would receive were published in the 2015-16 Budget (specifically
on page 44 of the Federal Financial Relations Budget Paper No.3 2015-16). 
This was not an estimate of the full allocation for each State and
Territory in each financial year.

 

I hope this information is of assistance to you.

 

Yours sincerely,

Clare McLean

Principal Legal Officer and FOI Coordinator

Commercial, Disability, Housing and Information Law Branch

Legal Services Group

Department of Social Services
[1][Department of Social Services request email]

 

DSS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia,
and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our
respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and
present.            

show quoted sections

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From: Brian O'Hart

Delivered

Dear FOI,
My specific questions still have not been answered. Why ?

Yours sincerely,

Brian O'Hart

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

I am sorry that I did not see this request before today. This is a note for the applicant who has not made a valid request. Also it is a note to Clare McLean, the Principal Legal Officer and FOI Coordinator at the Department of Social Services; it is a note for her because she has not read the law.

First for the applicant. In my opinion, Ms McLean is correct. Your application does not appear to be a valid application under the Commonwealth of Australia Freedom of Information Act. The Commonwealth act does not make room for a person to ask questions and get answers from departments; it only makes room to ask for documents and the applicant must give sufficient information so that an officer of the department can find relevant documents. It is not good enough that you can tell the officer what documents already gave you the information that has made it possible for you to ask your question. Also it is not good enough to say, "I want a document that has the answer to the questions I ask." That could help an officer to recognize a document that was relevant when it is in her hand and she has read it all ... but it does not tell her how to find this document. It is different to say, "I want a document written by Agnetha Jensen on Christmas Day" than if you say "I want a document that can answer my questions."

The second comment is for Clare McLean, Principal Legal Officer and FOI Coordinator at the Department of Social Services. In the reply of 19 April 2016 (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/d..., Ms McLean says that the applicant cannot ask for a review because the department has not made an access decision. This is not correct. Ms McLean should read the decision of the FOI Commissioner in Parnell and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport [2011] AICmr 3 (11 April 2011), paragraphs 7, 8 and 9. The Commissioner states that a decision by a department that an application is not valid is a decision that is an "access refusal decision". Because the decision is an access refusal decision, it is a reviewable decision. The applicant can ask for internal review and, or alternatively, Information Commissioner review.

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From: Brian O'Hart

Delivered

Dear FOI,
Locutus Sum, sincere thanks for your intervention and clarifying the law, much appreciated. Obviously my request had deficiencies and not within the parameters of FOI. law.
As a result my specific questions remain unanswered to my satisfaction. I do not wish to pursue the request any further.

Yours sincerely,

Brian O'Hart

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