Documents not available for download from your FOI disclosure log / reasoning

Posty made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Environment and Energy

The request was partially successful.

From: Posty

Delivered

Dear FOI Department,

It has been noticed there are documents on your Freedom Of Information Disclosure Log where you have put the most redundant text next to FOI disclosures—the equivalent of “if you would like access to these documents, please email/contact us for access”.

Any person reviewing the information on that site would of course be after the documents. This lack of access displays complete disregard of the spirit of the FOI act section 11C and thus I request, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, copies of the following documents:

All documents as is (that is, redacted or unredacted) from all previously made decisions on your department's FOI log that are currently not available for download direct from the website.

My preferred method of delivery for this information is for it to be placed on your department's Freedom of Information disclosure log web page as per part A) of 11C of the FOI Act. Should this request be successful you can put a simple list of the documents that were made available from the request, or whatever is most expedient, on the log.

I apologise for my pessimism, but past FOI experiences have led me to believe this request may elicit a response similar to “this request would divert too many resources of your department to complete”. Should you be thinking this, you have nobody to blame but yourselves—your department made this metaphorical bed.

Should you be seriously considering a practical refusal, my alternative request is for any documents that your department holds relating to the decision to include text on your freedom of information disclosure log similar to "contact us for access to this document".

In addition I request the total of the number of times any member of the public has asked for access to each non-website published successful documents on the FOI disclosure log other than the original successful applicant.

I do accept there is a very remote possibility there is a “Good Reason” for these not being available, and I hope these are contained within the documents provided as I cannot foresee any.

In the interests of expediency, I am willing to consider Administrative Access to said documents, should the document be provided within 30 days ( plus any public holidays in-between) of the sending of this email. After this time - the FOI Act applies as normal in all instances and any requests for extension will be denied without a supplied very good reason.

Regards,

Posty

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Thank you for contacting the Department of the Environment and Energy's
FOI Contact Officer.

 

Your email has been received.  Due to the Christmas shutdown period this
inbox will not be monitored from Monday 24 December 2018 to 2 January
2019.  Your request will be actioned upon return.

 

Thank you

 

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Dear Posty

Thank you for your email.

We have recently updated our disclosure log to enable documents released in 2018 to be downloaded directly from our website. Unfortunately due to some technical problems this function is not working hence why the "documents released" column is appearing as blank. We anticipate this will be fixed within 30 days and the documents will be accessible.

As noted on the site if a request in the table does not include a link to the documents released in response to it, you may obtain them by contacting us. Please let us know if you are interested in any specific documents.

Regards

FOI Contact Officer | General Counsel Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: 02 6274 2098

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear unnamed helpful public servant in the FOI team,

Thank you very much for the prompt response! I have requested similar information from other federal departments and you have set the bar very high for the first response.

It's relieving to hear that your department were working on restoring access to normal at least for 2018, you can discount that section of my earlier request.

You need only supply on the website ALL previous requests from your foi disclosure log ie 2017 and prior as I noticed there's no 'documents released' section on the older entries as they cannot be downloaded currently.

the preferred method is yet again through the website - but - considering you are going to be mending your ways in future, if you'd like to save time I'd be content with you supplying them by email in response to this so it is publicly available through right to know as a once off.

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/5...

you could then link to this request on your older pages so that the public knows about it and it all around has less impact on your departments workload.

We wont have to look into the why this way as it's more important that you're taking good steps in the right direction.

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Hi Posty

Unfortunately we do not currently have the resources available to provide all of the documents available through the disclosure log to you at this time.

As you likely noticed, the Department received in excess of 200 FOI requests from 1 January 2017 to present. Fulfilling your disclosure log request would require us to access the files for each of the 200 requests, extract the documents released in response to each, and then collate the 2,000+ documents into a centralised format for your access. As you can imagine, this would take a significant amount of time - at least two to three days for a full-time worker, if they worked at a rate of 5-6 minutes per request.

We think that our resources would be better placed in processing our active FOI requests, and (once our technical issues are conquered) uploading the documents onto the disclosure log so that you may access them directly. As mentioned below, we anticipate that this should occur within the next 30 days.

If you identify any specific requests on the disclosure log that you are interested in, let us know and we can provide you with the documents that were released in response to them.

Regards

FOI Contact Officer | General Counsel Branch Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600
t: 02 6274 2098

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From: Posty

Delivered

Dear FOI Contact Officer,

Thankyou for the earnest reply and with the 'reform' path you're taking and your explanation I'm willing to let this one slide a bit.

Fundamentally like you have advised, I want the documents to be *all* available in future for downloading on the website. If you could confirm my understanding that is what it appears you are doing it's appreciated.

I've set reminder in my calendar - if the timeline is revised for any reason feel free to let me know so i can update it.

Ultimately I am investigating why some departments stopped posting them or some cases never started.

Given you've responded administratively - could you please provide some background as to why they have not been available for download in the past. if the easiest way of doing this is providing some documents relating to it please do so.

my research indicates that at least back to 2015 and possibly even 2011 you were not putting them on the website.
https://web.archive.org/web/201503160413...
I'm interested in what hurdles you have been facing in doing so.

Some departments have advised that "file sizes" are an issue for them and have asked for addresses to post a cd. a list of short reasons like this would be fine - it doesn't have to be exhaustive but the major ones.

The concept of mailing 700MB through the post when phones frequently require updates larger than this over the air on a regular basis boggles my mind.

To help in my quest for answers - you could narrow my request to the above and to provide the *largest* in file size successful FOI request you have so I can mark this request as successful.

If you have any mail or transfer issues RE the large file - I suggest you investigate the govteams.

https://www.govteams.gov.au/

note the .gov.au

It's literally designed to collaborate with the external parties and requires no infrastructure on your departments side.

if you need to do that, let me know as I'll need to give you a different email and I can call you.

Yours sincerely,

Posty

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From: FOI Contact Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy

Hi Posty

The Department only recently (circa October 2018) decided to upload documents to the disclosure log, and are currently implementing this feature upon our the website.

As this is a new system, we are yet to encounter an issue with files being too large to host upon the site. We may encounter this issue in the future.

We are unable to advise on the largest file size for documents released in response to an FOI request, because this would require us to review each request to determine. We feel that our resources are better placed in processing active FOI requests.

I hope that this answers your questions.

Regards

FOI Officer
Department of the Environment and Energy
a: GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2600

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Posty left an annotation ()

Ok checking as of now the FOI disclosure log has up to page 3 with all of the documents

http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/f...

I'm categorising this as 'some of the information'

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of the Environment and Energy only: