Dear Department of Social Services,
I would like to know the number of people who are in receipt of a) Jobseeker and b) Disability Support Pension for the following time periods;
1 December 2019
1 December 2020
1 December 2021
1 December 2022
If possible, I would also like this information disaggregated by gender, State and Aboriginality.
Thank you for your email.
You have contacted the Freedom of Information (FOI) team of the Department
of Social Services (the Department).
If your email relates to an FOI application made under the
Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the Department
will respond to you as soon as practicable.
Please note the Department is subject to a shutdown period from 12:30pm on
Friday, 23 December 2022 to Monday, 2 January 2023 (inclusive). During
this time, this mailbox will not be monitored. We appreciate your patience
as we attend to your email on our return.
As the FOI team will not be able to process your FOI request during the
shutdown period, we anticipate seeking a short 15-day extension of time
from you under section 15AA of the FOI Act. We would be grateful if you
could respond to this email, indicating whether you agree to this
extension of time (if we have not already asked you).
Further information about FOI is available on our website
This email address is for applications under the FOI Act only. The
Department is unable to respond to non-FOI related enquiries sent to this
email address and accordingly, any correspondence received that is not FOI
related will not be responded to or forwarded. Should you have a query
unrelated to FOI, please complete our online feedback, enquiry or
compliment form on our website or call 1800 634 035.
Dear Ms Reynolds,
We refer to your correspondence below received by the Department of Social
Services (the Department) on 17 December 2022 in which you seek
information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).
The right of access under the FOI Act is to documents, or to information
contained in documents (as defined in section 4 of the FOI Act) in the
possession of the Department at the time of the request. It appears from
your request that you seek information that is not available in discrete
form in written documents in the possession of the Department. Section 17
of the FOI Act provides for limited circumstances in which the Department
may be able to produce a written document containing the information in
Further, the definition of “document” in section 4 of the FOI Act excludes
“material maintained for reference purposes that is otherwise publicly
available”. It also appears to us that you may be seeking information
that may be publically available.
To the extent that you are seeking information rather than documents,
including information that is not available in discrete form in written
documents in the possession of the Department, or is otherwise publically
available, we consider your request is not a valid FOI request. As it is
not a valid FOI request, the time for processing your request has not yet
In accordance with paragraph 15(3)(b) of the FOI Act, we are required to
take reasonable steps to assist you to make a valid FOI request that,
amongst other things, allows us to identify the nature of the documents
you are seeking, and we are happy to do so.
The Department will work with you to provide the information you require
to the extent that the Department holds such data.
You state you are seeking (we have added numbers for our reference):
1. “the number of people who are in receipt of a) Jobseeker and b)
Disability Support Pension for the following time periods;
· 1 December 2019
· 1 December 2020
· 1 December 2021
· 1 December 2022”
2. “If possible, … this information disaggregated by gender, State and
In relation to item 1, we are unable to provide data at 1 December,
however we can provide data at the last Friday of November for the given
years, or the last Friday of December for given years. Please confirm if
this is acceptable to you and which you would prefer.
Subject to clarification requested above in relation to item 1, the
Department can provide you with the information. This can be done outside
of the FOI process through the Department’s Data Requests Team by visiting
the Department’s website and completing the Online Data Request form at
www.dss.gov.au/contact/data-request-form or emailing the Department’s
Data Team directly at [email address]. If you prefer, the FOI Team can
assist you contacting the Department’s Data Request Team out side of the
FOI process. Just let us know.
For your information and assistance, every quarter the Department uploads
the DSS Payment Demographic Data onto the data.gov.au website. This report
has a lot of demographic statistics you may find useful: DSS Payment
Demographic Data - Dataset - data.gov.au.
Further, the Department uploads various datasets onto data.gov.au.
These are available to the public. You may also find data on the following
link useful: nationalmap.gov.au.
If the above links do not provide you with the statistical data you
require, you can also request data and statistical information outside of
the FOI process by visiting the Department’s website and completing the
Online Data Request form at www.dss.gov.au/contact/data-request-form or
emailing the Department’s Data Team directly at [email address].
If you wish to pursue making a FOI request, to assist you with make a
valid FOI request in a timely manner, it may be easier to discuss your
requirements over the telephone. If you provide a contact number and a
convenient time to call, a member of the Department’s FOI team will call
you to discuss.
If we do not hear from you, we will not make a decision or provide
documents in relation to your request as the request you have submitted is
not valid for the reasons outlined above.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss the
DSS FOI Team
Freedom of Information section
Legal Services Branch
Department of Social Services
E: [Department of Social Services request email]
Please be advised the Department is subject to a shutdown period from
12:30pm on Friday, 23 December 2022 to Tuesday, 2 January 2023
(inclusive). The FOI team will endeavour to finalise requests prior to
this period where possible and anticipates seeking an FOI applicant’s
agreement to an extension of time. During the shutdown period, FOI
requests will not be processed.
The Department of Social Services acknowledges the traditional owners of
country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land,
water and community.
We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past