Documents relating to the analysis of costs and benefits to the Australian economy of criminalising the use of physical currency to conduct economic transactions over $10,000

Richard Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Treasury

The request was partially successful.

From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of the Treasury,

Earlier this year, proposed legislation was tabled with the express purpose to severely curtail the freedom of Australian citizens to undertake financial transactions using physical legal tender.

The proposed legislation, the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, has the effect of criminalising the act of making a transaction in cash over the threshold value of $10,000.

This Bill would severely curtail a freedom currently enjoyed by Australian citizens, and instead convert the act into a criminal offence, namely the ability to pay for goods and services in cash.

This current freedom to use cash has strong advantages in terms of personal privacy, which is particularly beneficial as we consider the mounting number of cases of breaches of security of electronic databases and transaction records, intentional or otherwise, which have resulted in private and very personal details of citizens being compromised.

A reduction in freedoms enjoyed by Australian citizens by the Government should be a matter of the most serious consideration, where the benefits of such a reduction in freedoms should vastly outweigh the grave cost, i.e. a permanent reduction in freedoms and increased use of alternative methods of payment leading to higher vulnerability of personal data.

Accordingly, I hereby request the following Government Information documents which I consider to be of great public importance:

a) Documents provided to the Treasury detailing the analysis of the costs and benefits to the Australian economy of banning Australians using physical currency to conduct economic transactions over $10,000;

b) Documents produced by or commissioned on behalf of the Treasury detailing the analysis of the costs and benefits to the Australian economy of banning Australians using physical currency to conduct economic transactions over $10,000; and

c) Documents produced by or commissioned on behalf of the Treasury providing advice to any Government Minister or Minister's staff detailing the analysis of the costs and benefits to the Australian economy of banning Australians using physical currency to conduct economic transactions over $10,000.

Scope of request is on impact to Economy, not Commonwealth Taxation revenue

For clarity, any document which contains any discussion or forecast regarding solely increased government taxation revenue does not fall within the scope of my request.

I am not seeking documents or information in regards to the "Black Economy" taskforce regarding taxation revenue.

I am seeking documents describing information regarding analysis of economic impacts to the entire economy.

If this can be answered as informal request, please do so.

Otherwise, please proceed with this as a formal request under the Freedom of Information principles & framework, i.e. the Freedom of Information Act 1982 & other associated guidelines and regulations.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of the Treasury

We write to acknowledge receipt of your request, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

Your request was received by the Treasury on 7 October 2019. The FOI Act provides that we have 30 days to process the request. This period may be extended if we need to consult third parties or for other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

We will advise you if a charge is payable to process your request and the amount of any such charge as soon as possible.

We make the following assumptions that affect the scope of the request. These are set out below.

It is our usual practice:
• not to disclose the personal information of government employees or the personal contact details of senior government employees (including those of the Treasury). The names of senior officers will generally be released.
• not to release duplicates of any document captured within the scope of the request.
• only the final version of a document will be considered within scope.

Please inform us if you do not agree to the request being processed on the above assumptions. If we do not hear from you, your request will be processed on the basis that you do not intend to capture these matters in your scope
We will contact you using the email you provided. Please advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

If you have any questions in relation to your application, please contact the FOI Team on 02 6263 2800.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Officer
The Treasury
Ph: +61 2 6263 2800
e: [email address]

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From: Richard Smith

Delivered

Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for your reply of 18 October.

Regarding the Treasury's usual policy of excluding personal contact details of "government employees", which I assume to mean public service staff, while I recognise that this is a restriction to release of FOI documents over and above the requirements set out in the Act, on consideration of the Government Information subject to this request, I do not object to the Treasury's adherence to its internal policy.

I will however raise an objection, if the reason for not releasing any documents identified to be in the scope of my request for Government Information solely rests on the fact that they contain names and contact details of public service staff.

I also have no objection to the other two points, namely avoiding the release of duplicate documents and also of draft versions of documents for which there exists a final version.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Smith

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From: FOI
Department of the Treasury

Dear Mr Smith

 

We refer to your request to the Department of the Treasury (the Treasury)
for access to the following documents:

a)         Documents provided to the Treasury detailing the analysis of
the costs and benefits to the Australian economy of banning Australians
using physical currency to conduct economic transactions over $10,000;

b)         Documents produced by or commissioned on behalf of the Treasury
detailing the analysis of the costs and benefits to the Australian economy
of banning Australians using physical currency to conduct economic
transactions over $10,000; and

c)         Documents produced by or commissioned on behalf of the Treasury
providing advice to any Government Minister or Minister's staff detailing
the analysis of the costs and benefits to the Australian economy of
banning Australians using physical currency to conduct economic
transactions over $10,000.

Scope of request is on impact to Economy, not Commonwealth Taxation
revenue

For clarity, any document which contains any discussion or forecast
regarding solely increased government taxation revenue does not fall
within the scope of my request.

I am not seeking documents or information in regards to the "Black
Economy" taskforce regarding taxation revenue.

I am seeking documents describing information regarding analysis of
economic impacts to the entire economy.

A search for documents relevant to your request was undertaken. One
document that is potentially relevant to your request was located.

As this document is publicly available we have processed the request as an
informal request for documents. This is in line with your advice: ‘If this
can be answered as informal request, please do so’.

The document in the scope of your request is available at:
 [1]https://treasury.gov.au/review/black-eco....
Chapter Three of the report discusses the cash payment limit including
costs and benefits of the proposal. 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information Officer

The Treasury

Ph: +61 2 6263 2800

e: [2][email address

 

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References

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1. https://treasury.gov.au/review/black-eco...
2. mailto:[email address]

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