We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Melania F please sign in and let everyone know.

Email and document sent by Darrin Moy on 18 April 2018

We're waiting for Melania F to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Federal Court of Australia,

On 18 April 2018, Darrin Moy sent an unclassified email to Matt Asquith, among others.

The title of the email is “FW: Recruitment – Legal”.

The email reads:

“Good afternoon,

See outline of what we discussed yesterday.

Regards
Darrin”

Attached to Darrin Moy’s email was a document with the file name “Recruitment Legal – sent to Darrin Moy 18 April 2018.docx”.

Under the FOI Act, please provide:

a) the unclassified email that Darrin Moy sent to Matt Asquith, among others, on 18 April 2018; and
b) the document attached to Darrin Moy's email with the file name “Recruitment Legal – sent to Darrin Moy 18 April 2018.docx”.

Please send the documents to me by return email.

Yours faithfully,

Melania F

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL
Dear Melania F

Please find attached correspondence from the Federal Court of Australia.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

Dear FOI officer,

I am contesting the proposed charges you have listed in your letter.

You claim that search and retrieval of the documents took, or will take, 15 minutes. I do not think that to be the case. I have been very specific with my request. I identified the person who sent the email (Darrin Moy), the person to whom the email was sent (Matt Asquith, among others), the date on which the email was sent (18 April 2018), the title of the email (FW: Recruitment – Legal) and the classification of the email (unclassified). I also identified the file name of the attachment to the email (Recruitment Legal – sent to Darrin Moy 18 April 2018.docx)

It should not take 15 minutes to find the documents requested. I think five minutes would be more than adequate time. The cost of searching should be about $1.25.

According to the FOI Guidelines:

An agency should ensure that the notice to an applicant of a charge fully explains and justifies the charge. Implicit in the ‘lowest reasonable cost’ objective is the requirement for sound record keeping so that an agency’s documents can be readily identified and found when an FOI request is received.

According to the FOI Guidelines:

Agencies and ministers should interpret the ‘lowest reasonable cost’ objective broadly in imposing any charge under the FOI Act. That is, an agency or minister should have regard to the lowest reasonable cost to the applicant, to the agency or minister, and the Commonwealth as a whole. Where the cost of calculating and collecting a charge might exceed the cost to the agency of processing the request, it may generally be more appropriate not to impose a charge.

Let it be conservatively assumed that the FOI Officer who prepared the charge estimate letter and the invoice is paid $40 per hour (including superannuation and leave entitlements). Let it be very generously assumed that it took the FOI Officer 10 minutes to:

a) calculate the charges to be requested;
b) prepare the charge estimate letter; and
c) dispatch the documents by email.

It would have cost the Commonwealth $6.67 for the FOI Officer to do that.

The cost of calculating and collecting the charge exceeds the reasonable cost to the agency of searching for the documents.

Accordingly, the proposed search charge is inappropriate.

I requested the following documents:

a) the unclassified email that Darrin Moy sent to Matt Asquith, among others, on 18 April 2018; and b) the document attached to Darrin Moy's email with the file name “Recruitment Legal – sent to Darrin Moy 18 April 2018.docx”.

You claim that it will take an estimated 5 hours and 15 minutes to examine the documents, consult about the documents, make a decision and prepare a response. I do not think, by any objective measure, the time and cost estimate for the consideration of the FOI request can be justified. I believe that the estimated time to process the request has been calculated with the cynical motive of extracting payment for access to a couple of documents. That is unjustifiable. It would not take more than 5 hours for a competent and reasonably efficient public servant to process this FOI request. The proposed charge for the processing of the FOI request is unjustified.

The charges should be rescinded as they are unjustifiable and are, in my opinion, nothing more than an attempt to erect artificial hurdles for access to documents that constitute a national resource.

I do not think that the Information Commissioner would look favourably on any attempt to extract payment for the requested documents.

Yours sincerely,

Melania F

External FOI, Federal Court of Australia

OFFICIAL
Dear Melania F

I acknowledge receipt of your email below contesting the charges as advised by letter from the Federal Court of Australia dated 29 November 2022 in relation to your FOI request of 15 November 2022.

Kind regards

FOI Officer
Federal Court of Australia

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Melania F please sign in and let everyone know.