Improvement Notice Issued by CEO of ARPANSA

Sun Shine made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The request was successful.

From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

I am seeking access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 [FOI Act] regarding an Improvement Notice issued by the CEO of Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency [ARPANSA] in 2017. This Improvement Notice was issued under section 80A of the Act. I request a copy of the written notice (improvement notice} that required the holder of the licence to: (a) remedy a contravention; or (b) prevent a likely contravention from occurring; or (c) remedy matters or activities causing the contravention or likely contravention; or (d) cease an activity causing the contravention or likely contravention.

I applied for access to the Improvement Notice over a month ago, but have not received notice of a decision. I concluded that the CEO of ARPANSA personally made a decision refusing to give access to the document (refer to s 15AC).

This document exists. Access to this document, the contents of which could benefit other licence holders and the community at large, is in the public interest.

It is unfortunate that some agencies delay and obfuscate in order to avoid their responsibilities under the FoI Act. ARPANSA have been unresponsive in this simple request. ARPANSA is a small agency and the FOI administrator works directly for the CEO - it is highly probable that they discussed this request.

I therefore respectfully request an IC review of this "deemed" decision to refuse me access.

Yours faithfully,
Anonymous

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From: FOIDR
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our reference: MR18/00435
 
Anonymous
Sent by email: [1][FOI #4660 email]
 
Dear Anonymous
 
Your IC review application about an FOI decision by the Australian
Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
 
Thank you for your correspondence seeking to lodge an IC review
application with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
(the OAIC) about the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety
Agency (ARPNSA).
 
Before the OAIC can begin to conduct preliminary inquiries with ARPNSA, it
would assist us if you could provide a copy of the FOI request you made to
ARPNSA. I would appreciate a response by 9 July 2018.
 
Your IC review application will be shared with ARPNSA as part of the IC
review process unless you have specifically requested otherwise.
 
If your circumstances change, or your request has been resolved directly
with ARPNSA, please advise us by email as soon as practicable.
 
Should you wish to follow up on this matter, please contact the OAIC
enquiries line on 1300 363 992 or email [email address] and quote the
reference number at the top of this email.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Carl English | Assistant Review and Investigation Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [2]www.oaic.gov.au
Phone:  +61 2 9284 9745 | E-mail: [email address]
 
 
 
 
 

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear Mr. English/FOIDR,

Thank you for the timely reply. I submitted my initial request to Health on 17 May 2018:

"I am seeking access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) regarding an Improvement Notice issued by the CEO of ARPANSA in 2017 under section 80A of the Act. I request a copy of the written notice (improvement notice) that required the holder of the licence to: (a) remedy a contravention; or (b) prevent a likely contravention from occurring; or (c) remedy matters or activities causing the contravention or likely contravention; or (d) cease an activity causing the contravention or likely contravention."

I sent the identical request directly to ARPANSA on 22 May 2018. Note that Health transferred my initial request to ARPANSA shortly after 17 May 2018.

Under section 80A of the ARPANS Act, the CEO may issue an Improvement Notice to a licence holder in response to non-compliance (or when non-compliance is likely to occur). In its FY16/17 annual report, the agency stated "One improvement notice regarding inventory management and storage of radioactive material was issued by an ARPANSA inspector to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation under section 80A of the ARPANS Act.".

The Information Publication Scheme transforms the FOI framework from one that is reactive to individual requests to one that relies on voluntary agency-driven publication of information. Inspection reports are routinely posted online with this in mind; the Improvement Notice however was not.

In summary, the requested document exists and should be made available. There are many Commonwealth and state/territory licence holders who could benefit from knowing how they can improve their storage and management of radioactive material.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous

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From: FOIDR
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Dear Anonymous
Thank you for your response.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has initiated
preliminary inquiries with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear
Safety Agency (ARPNSA), we will contact you once the ARPNSA responds to
advise the next steps.
Kind regards
Carl English | Assistant Review and Investigation Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au
Phone:  +61 2 9284 9745 | E-mail: [email address]
 
 

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear FOIDR,

Thank you for your assistance. As a result of your involvement, I've received the information requested from ARPANSA.

The Improvement Notice was a single page document that could have been provided without the lengthy delay. It's clear that such documents should be made available to the public and included in ARPANSA's Information Publication Scheme.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous

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From: FOIDR
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Dear Anonymous
Thank you for your email.
Can I take it from your email below that you no longer need the assistance
of the OAIC and would be willing to withdraw your application for IC
review. I would appreciate it if you could confirm by 16 July 2018.
However if you wish to proceed with an IC review can you please advise why
you disagree with the decision.
Kind regards
Carl English | Assistant Review and Investigation Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au
Phone:  +61 2 9284 9745 | E-mail: [email address]
 
 
 
 
 
 

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear FOIDR,

I no longer need the assistance of the OAIC and am withdrawing my application.

ARPANSA provided the one-page document after much delay.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous

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From: FOIDR
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our reference: MR18/00435
 
Dear Anonymous
Thank you for your response.
This matter is now considered withdrawn under s 54R of the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (Cth).
Kind regards
Carl English | Assistant Review and Investigation Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au
Phone:  +61 2 9284 9745 | E-mail: [email address]
 
 

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