Group Certificates/PAYG payment summaries of the Department's SES staff - FY2013/14, FY2014/15 and FY2015/16

Name withheld made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

This request is an application for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

I am conducting research, across a range of Government agencies, into the Government's enterprise bargaining framework for the Commonwealth Public Service. Specifically, in the interests of equity and transparency, whether the Government's policy to reduce the living standards of rank and file public servants (that is, public servants who are not considered senior executive staff ('SES')) public servants, also extends to SES public servants. 

Accordingly, I request documents which detail the precise remuneration paid to each of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (the ‘Department’s’) SES officers in the following financial years - FY2013/14, FY 2014/15 and FY2015/16. The group certificates/end-of-year PAYG payments summaries issued by the Department to each of its SES staff in those years can be quickly and easily identified and retrieved, and will efficiently and accurately provide the information the subject of my request.

I am willing to agree to the decision maker redacting information relating to the tax file numbers, the home addresses and information relating to the amount of tax withheld for each of the relevant SES officers that may be contained in the relevant documents. I am willing to further narrow the scope of my request by limiting it to officers employed by the Department who, at the time of my application, were categorised as SES officers, meaning that:

- Departmental staff who were once SES officers at the Department, but weren’t categorised as such at the time of this application; and 
- the documents the subject of my request that pertain to SES officers who are no longer employed by the Department;

are discounted from the scope of my application.

In making this application I note that the information to which I seek access is broadly known, not least because the Department (among others) has chosen to publish, to the world at large (through its website), information pertaining to the names of its SES officers and their indicative salaries (in recognition of the established wide and countervailing public interest in such information and because it considered that it was not be unreasonable to do so). Further, the information relating to SES public servants included in their annual payment summaries/group certificates is included because that information relates to those public servants’ usual public duties and responsibilities.

I make the following submissions in support of my application.

The precise remuneration paid to public servants for performing public duties is a matter of wide and countervailing public interest. That is established by authority, including that set out in Re Ricketson and Royal Women’s Hospital (1989) 4 VAR 10; Re Forbes and Department of Premier & Cabinet (1993) 6 VAR 53; Re Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227; Re Thwaites and Metropolitan Ambulance Service (unreported, 13 June 1997); Re Milthorpe and Mt. Alexander Shire Council (1997) 12 VAR 105; Re Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227; Re National Tertiary Education Industry Union (Murdoch Branch) and Murdoch University; Ors [2001] WAICmr 1 and Asher and Department of State and Regional Development [2002] VCAT 609.

In Re Forbes, Deputy President Ball said (at page 60):
"Mr Baxter is a senior public servant performing very significant public functions and being paid wholly from money provided by the public. The public is entitled to know precisely how much of its money is received in salary and entitlements by senior public servants for performing functions on behalf of the public."

In Re Stewart, at pp.257-258, the Information Commissioner observed:
"It has been held […] that there is a general public interest in seeing how the taxpayers' money is spent which is sufficient to justify the disclosure of the gross income payable from the public purse to the holder of a public office. […] see [Re Ricketson and Royal Women's Hospital (1989) 4 VAR 10, and Re Forbes and Department of the Premier and Cabinet (1993) 6 VAR 53]."

In Re National Tertiary Education Industry Union, the Commissioner observed (at [68]):
"I recognise that there is a public interest in the public receiving value for its money spent on public education, especially in the present climate of financial restrictions. I agree with the Tribunal in Re Ricketson and Re Forbes that the public is entitled to know how much of its money is received in salary and entitlements by senior public officers for performing functions on behalf of the public and that such information is the subject of legitimate public interest and discussion."

In Asher, Deputy President McNamara stated:
"The total remuneration paid to senior public officers has been, and continues to be, a matter of public concern and public debate. The authorities referred to above indicate the fact that the taxpayers ultimately meet the remuneration gives them a legitimate interest in this matter, even although it is one that it is clearly a matter relative to the personal affairs to the officers themselves. As Mr Edwards notes, his actions as Secretary must ultimately be regulated by the law which must take precedence over any government policy, or one might say any private assurance that he might give to a particular officer. The existence of authorities such as Forbes and Milthorpe indicates that conformably with the Freedom of Information Act no officer, certainly no senior officer, could legally obtain an absolute guarantee of confidentiality of his or her total remuneration package figure without some special enabling legislation."

An additional wide public interest aspect that relates to my application is that employment relations (including the regulation of pay and conditions) in the public sector are widely considered to serve as a role model for industrial relations in the private sector (see, for example, Creighton B and Forsyth R [Eds.] Rediscovering Collective Bargaining, 2012 at pp.184-185). That is, the way in which a government treats its staff (public servants) can be considered emblematic of the way in which a government considers employees across the broader workforce should be treated by their employers. The current Commonwealth Government has an employment relations policy in place (known as the ‘Australian Public Service Bargaining Framework’) which necessarily involves reducing the living standards for rank and file (non-SES) public servants. Senior management at the Department has decided, at its discretion, to adopt and enforce, against its rank and file staff, the Government’s employment relations policy. Part of the purpose of my application is to determine whether the Government’s policy to reduce the living standards of rank and file public servants also extends to SES public servants. The documents the subject of my request will shed some light on that issue. It is immutably in the public interest of not only Departmental employees and employees across the wider public service, but also Australian taxpayers and working Australians more generally, to know whether it is the current Government’s view that rank and file employees who are not categorised as senior executives (or equivalent) are generally overpaid, and should therefore have their living standards reduced by their employers, while senior executives (or their equivalents) are generally underpaid and should have their living standards increased.

Yours sincerely

[name not required to be provided under the FOI Act]

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

I'm inquiring as to the status of my FOI request. Does the Department intend to acknowledge my request in accordance with the obligation imposed on it by paragraph 15(5)(a) of the FOI Act? I await your advice.

Yours faithfully,

[Name not required to be provided under the FOI Act]

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2017/035

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your email dated 6 February 2017, received by the Department
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which you made a
request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the
FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

Accordingly, I request documents which detail the precise remuneration
paid to each of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (the
‘Department’s’) SES officers in the following financial years - FY2013/14,
FY 2014/15 and FY2015/16. The group certificates/end-of-year PAYG payments
summaries issued by the Department to each of its SES staff in those years
can be quickly and easily identified and retrieved, and will efficiently
and accurately provide the information the subject of my request.

 

I am willing to agree to the decision maker redacting information relating
to the tax file numbers, the home addresses and information relating to
the amount of tax withheld for each of the relevant SES officers that may
be contained in the relevant documents. I am willing to further narrow the
scope of my request by limiting it to officers employed by the Department
who, at the time of my application, were categorised as SES officers,
meaning that:

 

- Departmental staff who were once SES officers at the Department, but
weren’t categorised as such at the time of this application; and 

- the documents the subject of my request that pertain to SES officers who
are no longer employed by the Department;

 

are discounted from the scope of my application.

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your request on 6 February 2017 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from us by 8 March 2017.  The
period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We will advise
you if there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information.  Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner at
[4]http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_....

 

Kind regards, Debbie

 

 

Debbie Arnold | Senior FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [5][email address]

[6]www.dpmc.gov.au | [7]www.indigenous.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA  ACT  2600

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...
2. mailto:[DPMC request email]
3. mailto:[DPMC request email]
4. http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_...
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/
7. http://www.indigenous.gov.au/

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Attachment FOI 2017 035 Practical Refusal Consultation Notice.pdf
1.3M Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to your FOI request with the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: FOI/2017/035

 

Kind regards, Debbie

 

Debbie Arnold | Senior FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [1][email address]

[2]www.dpmc.gov.au | [3]www.indigenous.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/
3. http://www.indigenous.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Thanks for this Debbie

You've indicated that Ms Greenwood "advises that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to [my] request [...]".

My request of 6 February 2017 was for the group certificates/PAYG summaries of the Department's SES officers (who, at the time of my application, were employed by the Department and categorised as SES officers) for the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years..

Having regard to the Department's organisational structure (as published on the Department's website), I'm finding it difficult to reconcile Ms Greenwood's assertion that over 400 group certificates/PAYG summaries fall within the scope of my request. Is Ms Greenwood able to confirm that over 400 group certificates/PAYG summaries fall within the terms of my request?

Only on the basis that Ms Greenwood's assertion is factually correct, I am willing to, pursuant to paragraph 24AB(6)(b) of the FOI Act, narrow the scope of my request such that it only applies to SES Band 3 officers.

Yours sincerely,

[Name not required to be provided under the FOI Act]

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I'm following up on my email to you of 20 February, 2017. Has Ms Greenwood been able to confirm that over 400 group certificates/PAYG summaries fall within the terms of my request?

Thanks.

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

By my calculations, and in accordance with s.15AC of the FOI Act, the Department is taken to have refused my request. But if you think otherwise, please let me know by close of business Tuesday, 14 March 2017.

Yours sincerely,

[Name note required to be provided under the FOI Act]

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Afternoon

Thank you for email of the 20 February and 12 March 2017.

The Department has reviewed your response to the practical refusal consultation notice issued and confirms with this clarification your request can now be processed.

The new due date for this matter is 31 March 2017.

Should you require any additional information please email [DPMC request email]

Kind regards, Debbie

Debbie Arnold | Senior FOI Adviser
Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours and Legal Policy Branch
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [email address]
www.dpmc.gov.au | www.indigenous.gov.au
PO Box 6500 CANBERRA  ACT  2600

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Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Hello

My FOI request of the Department was made on 6 February 2017. In accordance with the Department’s email to me of 18 February 2017, and pursuant to paragraph 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, the Department was obligated to provide a decision in respect of my request by no later than 8 March 2017.

Following the Department’s issuance of a request consultation notice under section 24AB of the FOI Act on 20 February 2017, I wrote to the Department (on the same day):

i) requesting that Ms Greenwood confirm or otherwise correct her assertion “that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to [my] request [...]”; and

ii) clarifying that “only on the basis that Ms Greenwood’s assertion is factually correct” that the scope of my request be revised pursuant to paragraph 24AB(6)(b) of the FOI Act.

For whatever reason, the Department decided not to respond to the reasonable request for information contained in my email.

In accordance with subsection 24AB(8) of the FOI Act, I understand that the effect of my response (of 20 February 2016) to the Department’s request consultation notice was that the required date by which the Department must have provided a decision in response to my FOI request was revised to being no later than 9 March 2017.

On 1 March 2017, I wrote to the Department to follow up on my unanswered email to the Department of 20 February 2017, again requesting that Ms Greenwood confirm or otherwise correct her assertion “that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to [my] request [...]”.

For whatever reason, the Department again decided not to respond to that reasonable request.

On 12 March 2017, I again wrote to the Department indicating that as the revised due date for my application of 9 March 2017 had passed, the effect of section 15AC of the FOI Act is that the Department (and in particular, the Secretary of the Department personally) is deemed to have refused my request.

The Department’s email to me today again declines to respond to my reasonable request of seeking confirmation or correction of Ms Greenwood’s assertion “that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to [my] request [...]”. The Department’s email also proposes a new and apparently arbitrarily determined due date for my application of 31 March 2017. As far as I can tell, the revised due date proposed by the Department is not supported by the FOI Act.

Unless the Department is able to explain its proposed revised decision due date by reference to the proper operation of the FOI Act by close of business Friday, 17 March 2017, I will request that the Information Commissioner review Dr Martin Parkinson’s decision to refuse my FOI request.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Afternoon

Thank you for the below information. I note you have asked for clarification or confirmation of Ms Greenwood’s assertion “that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to your request"

As explained in the Practical Refusal Consultation Notice (PRCN) your request was initially interpreted as seeking access to PAYG statements for any officer in the Department that was SES across your nominated period.

In responses to the PRCN you confirmed you were only seeking access to PAYG statements across your nominated periods, for SES officers who at the time of your request were employment by the Department.

The Department considered the clarification you provided in your email of the 20 February 2017 and determined that the practical refusal reason no longer existed. With this refusal reason now removed, the Department is processing your request.

Should you require any additional information regarding the process or further clarification regarding the removal of the practical refusal reason please let me know.

Kind regards, Debbie

Debbie Arnold | Senior FOI Adviser
Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours and Legal Policy Branch
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [email address]
www.dpmc.gov.au | www.indigenous.gov.au
PO Box 6500 CANBERRA  ACT  2600

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Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Hi Debbie

Debbie wrote:

“I note you have asked for clarification or confirmation of Ms Greenwood’s assertion ‘that over 400 documents have been found to be in scope to your request’. As explained in the Practical Refusal Consultation Notice (PRCN) your request was initially interpreted as seeking access to PAYG statements for any officer in the Department that was SES across your nominated period.”

Me: That interpretation was correct.

Debbie wrote:

“In responses to the PRCN you confirmed you were only seeking access to PAYG statements across your nominated periods, for SES officers who at the time of your request were employment by the Department.”

Me: That statement is incomprehensible. My response to the PRCN was plainly put: “[o]nly on the basis that Ms Greenwood's assertion is factually correct, I am willing to, pursuant to paragraph 24AB(6)(b) of the FOI Act, narrow the scope of my request such that it only applies to SES Band 3 officers.”

Despite asking you, on numerous occasions, to confirm or clarify Ms Greenwood’s assertion – a perfectly reasonable request (the response to which would have been determinative as to how my application should have been processed) – you have refused to respond to that request.

Further, you have allowed the statutory time limits imposed on the Department by the FOI Act to lapse.

Nothing you have set out in your email today could be said to adequately address the matters I raised in my email to you of 15 March 2017.

Is there someone else, one of your colleagues perhaps, that might be better placed to deal with this request?

Thanks.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Attachment FOI 2017 035 Decision package.pdf
2.4M Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to your FOI request with the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet- ref: FOI/2017/035.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review | Honours and Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. +61 2 6271 5849

e. | [1][DPMC request email] | [2]www.dpmc.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References

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1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

This is a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

I refer to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (DPMC’s) negotiated settlement of the FOI request available here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/g...

whereupon DPMC, after engaging in politically motivated delay, and after wasting considerable taxpayer money, belatedly decided to provide the salary information requested, in acknowledgment of the obvious wide and countervailing public interested in knowing precisely how much senior public servants receive in public funds for the performance of public duties.

DPMC’s decision resulted in the production of a document, available here: https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil... which, when read in combination with DPMC’s decision here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/3... indicates that DPMC’s senior executive service (SES) staff have received recent annual pay increases in the range of 11%-13%.

Such salary increases are approximately:
• 500%-700% greater than increases in the CPI for the same period;
• 500%-700% greater than increases in the wage price index for the same period; and
• 1000% greater than the effective 1.2% salary increase given to the rank and file workers at DPMC for the same period (DPMC’s current EBA effectively grants rank and file staff a 6% wage increase over five years).

Noting that employment relations (including the regulation of pay and conditions) in the public sector are widely considered to serve as a role model for industrial relations in the private sector, the information provided by DPMC provides a clear manifestation of the Government’s ideology concerning the distribution of wealth in Australian society, which, on the face of the salary information provided by DPMC, is characterised by:
• a redistribution of wealth from lower and middle-income earners to highly paid individuals;
• a view that rank and file employees who are not categorised as senior executives (or equivalent) are generally overpaid, and should therefore have their living standards reduced by their employers, while senior executives (or their equivalents) are generally underpaid and should have their living standards increased (dramatically apparently, as evidenced by the information produced by DPMC);
• an unwavering belief in trickle-down and neo-liberal economics; and
• a deeply held view that rank and file workers constitute a lesser form of human/employee.

As if to exemplify the wide public interest in the information provided by DPMC, Fairfax newspapers headlined its publications with the following article based upon the information provided by DPMC: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-...

I now turn to the subject of this request made under section 15 of the FOI Act. I request that DPMC prepare a document, pursuant to section 17 of the FOI Act or otherwise, by adding a column to the document previously provided and available here: https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil... representing the precise salaries paid to the five relevant SES officers for the 2016/17 financial year.

In support of my application, I refer DPMC to submissions demonstrating the wide and countervailing public interest in knowing precisely how much senior public servants receive for performing public duties, as set out here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/p...

Thanks.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing in relation to your request below. The request is for the creation of a document as follows: "I request that DPMC prepare a document, pursuant to section 17 of the FOI Act or otherwise, by adding a column to the document previously provided and available here: https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil... representing the precise salaries paid to the five relevant SES officers for the 2016/17 financial year."

Unfortunately, in its current form, your request is not considered to be valid under section 15(2)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 [Requests for Access], as you are seeking to have the Department create a new document rather than requesting access to an existing document. You will note that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner advises that FOI Agencies are not required to create documents in response to an FOI request - see https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

However, you may wish to refine your request to "documents relating to the precise salaries paid to SES officers for the 2016/17 financial year". If you wish to narrow this request further, you will need to specify the officers in question. I assume this may be a reference to Special Executive Service Band 3 Officers of the Department.

Please feel free to contact me If I can assist you further to progress your request.

Yours sincerely

Claire Pitham | Senior Adviser
Access and Administrative Review Section | Legal Policy Branch
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
p. (02) 6271 6295 | M: 0429 902 938
e. [email address] | w. www.pmc.gov.au
One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

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Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Ms Pitham

While general summaries about the operation of the FOI Act taken from the OAIC’s website may be useful in certain circumstances, such summaries are no substitute for the express terms of the FOI Act.

I draw your attention to the operation of section 17 of the FOI Act and its application to my request. I also draw your attention to:

• the summary document produced by DPMC available here: https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil... in response to an FOI request at: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/g... which appears to have been produced pursuant to s.17 of the FOI Act;
• the summary document produced by the OAIC available here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/3... in response to an FOI request at: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/p... which appears to have been produced pursuant to s.17 of the FOI Act; and
• the decision of the Information Commissioner in 'MZ' and Department of Communications and the Arts (Freedom of information) [2017] AICmr 109 (in particular, the Information Commissioner’s reasoning at paragraph [14] of his decision).

I request that you reconsider this matter. For the avoidance of any doubt my request relates to DPMC's SES Band 3 officers.

Thank you.

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Ms Pitham

I refer to my email to you of 24 November 2017 in which I contended that your assessment of my request as being invalid was incorrect and improperly made. Accordingly, I sought reconsideration of your initial assessment of this matter. I note that you have not responded to that request and I seek an update from you as to the status of my request.

I consider the FOI request I made of the DPMC on 24 November 2017 to be valid and that if the DPMC does not respond to that request in accordance with the requirements of s.15(5) of the FOI Act, I will seek Information Commissioner review of Dr Parkinson's deemed access refusal decision.

Noting DPMC's particularly poor record of compliance with the FOI Act and its tendency to make FOI decisions based on certain political objectives rather that in accordance with the objects of the FOI Act, I think it appropriate, at this time, to remind you of your obligations under the Public Service Act 1999 - in particular the obligation imposed on you to behave ethically, honestly, apolitically, transparently, with integrity and in compliance with the law.

In reconsidering your initial assessment of this matter, in addition to the relevant matters I referred you to in my email of 24 November, I also refer you to decision of the Bureau of Meteorology here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/p...

Thanks.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Sir/Madam,

I acknowledge receipt of your email. I will respond to you on a substantive basis shortly.

Yours sincerely

Claire Pitham | Senior Adviser
Access and Administrative Review Section | Legal Policy Branch
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
p. (02) 6271 6295 | M: 0429 902 938
e. [email address] | w. www.pmc.gov.au
One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

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Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I refer to previous correspondence regarding your request, our reference
FOI/2017/188.

 

Even on an assumption that you made a  valid request under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) on 24 November 2017, the Department is not
obliged, under section 17 of the FOI Act, to create the document you have
sought.

 

The document published on the Department’s Disclosure Log in response to
FOI/2017/0035 was created manually by the Department, drawing on
information available in the Department’s systems, as the Department’s
computer systems cannot function independently to collate or retrieve
stored information and produce the document.

 

We again refer to the relevant paragraphs of the Australian Information
Commissioner’s guidelines (the guidelines) which are clear, at paragraph
3.185, that in order for section 17 to apply, the “The computer or other
equipment  … must be capable of functioning independently to collate or
retrieve stored information and be able to produce the requested
document”.

 

Therefore, to respond to your current request would require the Department
to interrogate its systems and manually update the document relevant to
FOI /2017/0035. As stated in the guidelines at paragraph 2.29. an agency
is not required to create a new document in response to a request for
access.

 

However, I can advise that the Department has, in its possession, a
document that contains information about the specific salaries of SES Band
3 officers in the Department for several financial years, including
2016-17. If you wished to revise your scope to request access to this
document, we can process FOI/2017/188.  You may wish to exclude
identifying information about the officers other than their salaries in
your revised request, as this is personal information over which the
Department may seek to claim an exemption under section 47F of the FOI Act
(Personal Privacy).

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Claire Pitham | Senior Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

e. [1][email address] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Thank you for your email Ms Pitham and your offer to provide access to “a
document that contains information about the specific salaries of SES Band
3 officers in the Department for several financial years, including
2016-17.” I wish to revise the scope of my request such that it is a request for access to that document.

Further, I am amenable to the DPMC redacting the names of the SES band 3 officers concerned but only on the condition that each relevant SES officer's name be replaced by a single unique identifier such that each relevant SES officer's precise salary can be tracked over the three relevant financial years (eg. SES officer #1, SES officer #2, SES officer #3 etc). If the DPMC is not willing to replace the SES officers' names with a single unique identifier for each relevant SES officer, then I seek access to that document with the relevant officers’ names included (such that their salaries can be tracked over the relevant financial years).

Thanks.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2017/188

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your email dated 12 December 2017, received by the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which
you made a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (the FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

‘a document that contains information about the specific salaries of SES
Band 3 officers in the Department for several financial years, including
2016-17.” I wish to revise the scope of my request such that it is a
request for access to that document.

 

Further, I am amenable to the DPMC redacting the names of the SES band 3
officers concerned but only on the condition that each relevant SES
officer's name be replaced by a single unique identifier such that each
relevant SES officer's precise salary can be tracked over the three
relevant financial years (eg. SES officer #1, SES officer #2, SES officer
#3 etc). If the DPMC is not willing to replace the SES officers' names
with a single unique identifier for each relevant SES officer, then I seek
access to that document with the relevant officers’ names included (such
that their salaries can be tracked over the relevant financial years).

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your request on 12 December 2017 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from us by 12 January 2018.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email]. If you do
wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider within five working days. Otherwise we
will take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the
scope of your request (that is, the information will be treated as
irrelevant and redacted from any documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information. Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner at
[4]http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_....

 

Kind regards,

 

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review | Honours and Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. +61 2 6271 5849

e. | [5][DPMC request email] | [6]www.dpmc.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

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[11]cid:image005.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...
2. mailto:[DPMC request email]
3. mailto:[DPMC request email]
4. http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_...
5. mailto:[DPMC request email]
6. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
8. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...
9. https://twitter.com/indigenous_gov
10. https://www.facebook.com/indigenous.gov....

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

By my calculations, the statutory period by which the Department was required to provide a decision in respect of this request expired yesterday. Is there any particular reason the Department has been unable to provide a decision on time?

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Sir/Madam

The Department acknowledges the timeframe for the FOI request and regrets that due to the holiday period, the decision has not been finalised within the due date. It was expected that the decision would be made in the timeframe and therefore no extension request was made. The Department is currently finalising the decision and expects to be able to provide the access decision shortly.

Yours sincerely

Claire Pitham | Senior Adviser
Access and Administrative Review Section | Legal Policy Branch
p: 6271 5849 | e. [email address]
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
w. www.pmc.gov.au
One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Ms Pitham

I'd like to lodge a complaint/PID in respect of the Department's handling of this matter. To that end, could you please confirm that you are the authorised decision-maker for this matter or otherwise provide me with the name of the relevant officer.

Thanks

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Attachment FOI 2017 188 Decision Package.pdf
2.0M Download View as HTML


UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email of Wednesday 24 January 2017,
concerning your FOI request 2017/188. Please find attached your finalised
decision and the relevant document.  We apologise for the delay in
finalising your matter.

 

If you wish to make a complaint to the Department, you can do so to
[1][email address]. The Department’s complaints policy is at
[2]https://www.pmc.gov.au/pmc/complaints

 

You can also make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner about the handling of an FOI matter, at
[3]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

 

Public Officials may make Public Interest Disclosures to the Department
through [4][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

Claire Pitham | Senior Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Legal Policy Branch

p: 6271 5849 | e. [email address]

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

w. www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://www.pmc.gov.au/pmc/complaints
3. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
4. [email address]
mailto:[email address]

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet only: