FOI Calculator

Ben Fairless made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Government Solicitor

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Australian Government Solicitor.

Dear Australian Government Solicitor,

I note in a recent decision letter issued by the Department of Education[1] the Department states that the AGS provided a calculator to determine the cost of FOI requests.

I request:
- A copy of any calculator which is provided to Government Agencies to calculate FOI charges.
- Access to supplementary notes or documentation provided with the calculator that details it's use.

This request does not include:
- Information related to a specific FOI request, or the calculation of specific requests
- advice provided by the AGS that does not relate to the operation of the calculator.

I respectfully request that:
- The document be provided in it's original form
- That all decision letters or correspondence in relation to this request either be sent in Plain Text, or via HTML or Microsoft Word format.

Please treat this as a request for administrative access. If for some reason the request cannot be dealt with in this way, please treat it as a formal application under the Freedom of Information Act.

I am contactable at this email address should you have any questions.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Fairless

[1] - Paragraph 11

Adam, Daryl,

Link: [1]File-List

We refer to your email below to the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS),
requesting ‘administrative access’ or access under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) to a calculator commonly used by
Commonwealth departments and agencies to calculate processing charges
under the FOI Act.


By way of background, AGS is a government business enterprise operating on
a fully commercial and competitive basis in providing legal services to
Commonwealth departments and agencies. As a legal practice, it is not
appropriate that AGS makes available to other parties copies of documents
that it provides to its clients, unless on the instructions of its clients
or if AGS is otherwise legally required to do so.


I must also advise that AGS is listed as an exempt agency in Schedule 2 of
the FOI Act and therefore exempt from the operation of the FOI Act.


For these reasons your request for access cannot proceed.




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Alex Sadleir left an annotation ()

There is a November 2010 version of the calculator in Excel format on the DAFF website

It is worth noting "the Freedom of Information Commissioner cautioned against relying on a charges calculator as a basis for a practical refusal decision:
'While such rough estimates may be a sufficient approximation for a preliminary assessment of charges made under s 29(1) of the FOI Act, in my opinion a more rigorous approach will generally be required before a decision to refuse access on the basis that a practical refusal reason exists.'

This is especially so where, as in this case, the agency has not examined even a sample of the relevant documents. A charges calculator cannot produce an accurate estimate without accurate inputs."