Lucky Bay Harbour Extension project documentation from Regional Development Australia

Dan Monceaux made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

This request has been withdrawn by the person who made it. There may be an explanation in the correspondence below.

From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development,

I am writing to request copies of documentation related to the Lucky Bay Harbour Extension project in South Australia, which received Commonwealth funding via the Regional Development Australia Fund circa 2012.

The documentation I am requesting is as follows:

- The Expression of Interest received by RDA
- The grant application as received by RDA
- The grant approval documentation issued by RDA
- Any revisions to the terms and conditions associated with the receipt of Commonwealth funding and the acquittal of the grant
- Final project report and grant acquittal documentation received by RDA

I am making this request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Monceaux

This email is in reference to your application below (FOI 17-62).

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) requests your agreement to extend the time period for processing your FOI request by 15 days (FOI Act - s15AA).

The Department will be closed from Monday 26 December to Monday 2 January, 2017 and will reopen for business on Tuesday 3 January 2017.

Your agreement will assist the Department to best respond to your request for access.

Please indicate your agreement by responding to this email.

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601| [Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

I agree to your request for a time extension of 15 days.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Monceaux,

I seek clarification in relation to your request (below).

The RDA received the 'Expression of interest' in relation to the 'Lucky Bay Harbour Extension project in South Australia'. The RDA did not receive or create any of the other documents you refer to.

Do you seek this information as received/ issued by the Department or is your interest in the RDA?

Your prompt reply is appreciated.

Kind regards

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
t 02 6274 6495 |
e [email address] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

Thanks for updating me on this request.

Given that the only documentation relevant to my request that appears to be held by RDA is the Expression of Interest, I would like to rescope my Freedom of Information request to focus on this document exclusively.

The project description and funding details listed at http://regional.gov.au/regional/programs... gave the impression that the funding had been applied for and awarded by Regional Development Australia.

Could you please advise me of which department the grant application was received and funded by? This will assist me in redirecting the latter parts of my FoI request.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Monceaux,

Apologies for the lack of clarity, email is not the always the best medium by which to remove ambiguity.

The only document received (or created) by the RDA is the expression of interest.

If the reference to the RDA is excluded from the scope of your request in the following way, (See below)

- The Expression of Interest received by RDA
- The grant application;
- The grant approval documentation;
- Any revisions to the terms and conditions associated with the receipt of Commonwealth funding and the acquittal of the grant; and
- Final project report and grant acquittal documentation.

Then the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development holds documents relevant to your request.

Should the above revision to the scope of your request meet with your agreement, we can proceed immediately.

Kind regards

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
t 02 6274 6495 |
e [email address] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

Let's proceed with a simpler request, seeking digital copies (scans) of Expression of Interest documentation related to the Lucky Bay Harbor Extension project.

I will direct my request for the additional documentation previously discussed to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, as you have suggested.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Monceaux

You have already submitted your request to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

By way of information, Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a national network of 55 committees made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the development of their regions. It is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

As it is now clear that you seek the documents regardless of who authored or received them, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (this Department) will progress your request, without a need for a second request.

Kind regards

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
t 02 6274 6495 |
e [email address] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Offciers,

Many thanks for clarifying this with me. I am pleased to read that I will not need to make a further application, and that my request for the listed documentation (regardless of its authorship) can now progress.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development


Attachment FOI credit card payment authority.pdf
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Attachment Charges notice 17 62.pdf
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Dear Mr Monceaux

 

Charges notice FOI 17-62 - Lucky Bay Harbour Extension Project

 

I refer to your request for access to documents in the possession of the
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982. 

 

A determination of your liability to pay a charge and a preliminary
charges estimate is attached.

 

Should you have any questions regarding the processing of your request
please contact the FOI Officer on (02) 6274 6495 or by email at
[1][email address].

 

 

Regards,

 

 

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional
Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601| [2]Australian Government,
[Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | Department of Infrastructure
www.infrastructure.gov.au and Regional Development

 

 

 

 

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Offcers,

Please accept my letter below in response to the Charges Notice issued on 23 January.

I wish to appeal for a reduction or waiver of costs, owing to 1) the public interest nature of this request and 2) the resulting financial hardship the payment of these fees is likely to cause me.

PUBLIC INTEREST CASE

The public interest case for the release of this documentation is supported by its importance to the region, as set out in the following RDA presentation from September 2012: http://www.rdafn.com.au/LiteratureRetrie...

This is further supported by extensive media coverage of the project, including (but not limited to):

12 Feb 2013: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/stor...
15 August 2014: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/stor...
29 August 2016: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/stor...
22 June 2016: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/stor...
15 July 2016: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/ne...
28 October 2016: http://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/stor...
28 October 2016: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/e...

It is also worth noting that the project has also been partially funded by the South Australian government, further adding to the Public Interest case for this project. Federal MP Rowan Ramsey articulated this in 2016: http://www.rowanramsey.com.au/MediaHub/M...

It is also worth noting that the harbor expansion has received an additional $90,000 grant through the SA Government's Eyre peninsula Grain Growers' Rail Fund to export grain from the harbor (though these works lie beyond the scope of the documentation requested under FoI): http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/primary_industr...

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP:

The payment of the full notice of charges provided is likely to cause me financial hardship if I were required to pay it in full. I am an independent documentary filmmaker, and have been working on a feature-length documentary film, self-funded, since 2011. During this time, I have been unable to undertake any significant paid work and as such my income has been nominal. Through this period I have been relying on basic financial support from family and crowdfunded donations.

The project I have been working on, which considers the Lucky Bay harbor extension project, has a website which can be visited at: http://cuttlefishcountry.com

I hope that this supporting evidence can assist you in your reconsideration and review of the present Notice of Charges.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development


Attachment FOI credit card payment authority.pdf
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Attachment FOI 17 62 Charges Decision.pdf
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Dear Mr Monceaux,

 

Charges notice - FOI 17-62 - Lucky Bay Harbour Extension Project

 

I refer to your request for access to documents in the possession of the
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

A decision on your liability to pay a charge is attached. A Credit Card
Payment Authority form is also attached. Please note that you will need to
respond appropriately to this decision by 25 March 2017, or your request
will be considered withdrawn.

 

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the processing of
your request.

 

Regards,

 

Brad Collins

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance and Performance

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601

e [1][Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w [2]www.infrastructure.gov.au

 

 

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1. mailto:[Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email]
2. http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

In my most recent email to you I wrote "I wish to appeal for a reduction or waiver of costs, owing to 1) the public interest nature of this request and 2) the resulting financial hardship the payment of these fees is likely to cause me."

In your correspondence of 23 February 2017 I noted many written references to my request for a fee waiver (this is how my request has been characterised), but only a single mention of my request for the charges to be reconsidered and potentially reduced (see Reasons for decision #7).

Could you please confirm whether or not the evidence I supplied you was assessed with respect to both of my requests for either a fee waiver or a fee reduction?

I am also providing you with some additional news items which further support my public interest case appeal. This is in response to the assertion made in your correspondence of 23 February that the media coverage of the project was not extensive, and was largely constrained to 2016:

5 May 2011: http://www.theajmonline.com.au/mining_ne...
2 August 2011: http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/com...
16 August 2011: http://www.theair.com.au/The_AIR/Lucky_B...
27 April 2012: http://australianminingreview.com.au/luc...
3 July 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012...
4 November 2013: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-04/lu...
3 December 2013: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/s...
4 December 2013: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-04/ex...
10 December 2013: http://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story...
December 2013: https://www.flindersports.com.au/wp-cont...
10 Februrary 2014: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/mencel-g...
8 March 2016: https://www.ypct.com.au/index.php/opinio...
10 March 2016: http://www.farmonline.com.au/story/37816...
1 December 2016: http://www.5cs.com.au/news/local-news/60...

The inclusion of this additional media coverage extends the supplied media report evidence to include all years spanning 2011-2016 and represents a greater diversity of media outlets than I previously provided. It is worth noting that some of the report which appeared in the Whyalla News (linked previously) also appeared in other Fairfax papers in South Australia, including the Stock Journal (which circulates statewide in SA) and the Eyre Tribune. It is fair to say that interest in this project extends across Spencer Gulf to communities on both Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas.

As such I would like you to please reconsider reducing the fees associated with this request on the basis of this now more indicative sample of media coverage of the Lucky Bay Harbor and its extension works. These articles raise matters of industrial, environmental and regional economic significance.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development


Attachment image001.jpg
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Attachment image002.jpg
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Dear Mr Monceaux,

 

Thank you for your email, and for providing the further articles. I can
confirm that the decision maker did consider whether it would be
appropriate to reduce the charges for your request, but decided not to do
so for the reasons detailed in the decision notice.

 

Your options at this stage are to pay the charges, to refuse to pay, or to
request an internal review of the charges decision. If you would like to
request an internal review, then the decision to impose charges will be
reviewed by a different decision maker, considering all the material that
you have provided so far. You may also like to provide further
considerations to support your position. In order to help you with this
process, I would like to offer three points that may help to guide you.

 

The first is that the Office of The Australian Information Commissioner
(OAIC) offers guidance on what constitutes public interest in the context
of an FOI charge waiver or reduction. Relevantly:

 

The ‘public interest’ is a concept of wide import that cannot be
exhaustively defined. When considering the public interest, it is
important that the agency or minister directs its attention to the
advancement or the interest or welfare of the public, and this will depend
on each particular set of circumstances. Further, the public interest is
not a static concept confined and defined by strict reference points. […]
[The public interest test will not] be satisfied by a contention that it
is in the public interest for an individual with a special interest in a
document to be granted access to it, or that an underlying premise of the
FOI Act is that transparency is in the public interest.

 

The OAIC’s website contains further examples of relevant considerations:

[1]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

 

The second point is that you may wish to relate the public interest to the
documents you have requested, rather than the project itself. While you
may be able to establish that there is a public interest in the project,
if you can't demonstrate that the particular documents would provide any
further insight to the project, then you may fail to establish a public
interest in the documents.

 

The third point is that FOI requests take time and money for the
Department to process. As described in the decision, there is a
significant public interest in both an efficient FOI process and FOI
applicants making a contribution in accordance with the FOI Charges
regulations; in your response, you may wish to establish why the public
interest in this shared financial burden is less important than the public
interest in providing you with access to the documents at a reduced cost.

 

Please let me know how you would like to proceed, and if you have any
further questions.

 

 

FOI Officer | Governance and Performance
Governance Unit | Corporate Services
Department of Infrastructure and Regional
Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
t 02 6274 6495 | [4]Australian Government,
e FOI[2][email address] | w Department of Infrastructure and
[3]www.infrastructure.gov.au Regional Development
[5]Strip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear FOI Officers,

 

In my most recent email to you I wrote "I wish to appeal for a reduction
or waiver of costs, owing to 1) the public interest nature of this request
and 2) the resulting financial hardship the payment of these fees is
likely to cause me."

 

In your correspondence of 23 February 2017 I noted many written references
to my request for a fee waiver (this is how my request has been
characterised), but only a single mention of my request for the charges to
be reconsidered and potentially reduced (see Reasons for decision #7).

 

Could you please confirm whether or not the evidence I supplied you was
assessed with respect to both of my requests for either a fee waiver or a
fee reduction?

 

I am also providing you with some additional news items which further
support my public interest case appeal. This is in response to the
assertion made in your correspondence of 23 February that the media
coverage of the project was not extensive, and was largely constrained to
2016:

 

5 May 2011:
[6]http://www.theajmonline.com.au/mining_ne...

2 August 2011:
[7]http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/com...

16 August 2011:
[8]http://www.theair.com.au/The_AIR/Lucky_B...

27 April 2012:
[9]http://australianminingreview.com.au/luc...

3 July 2012:
[10]http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012...

4 November 2013:
[11]http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-04/lu...

3 December 2013:
[12]http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/s...

4 December 2013:
[13]http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-04/ex...

10 December 2013:
[14]http://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story...

December 2013:
[15]https://www.flindersports.com.au/wp-cont...

10 Februrary 2014:
[16]http://www.theaustralian.com.au/mencel-g...

8 March 2016:
[17]https://www.ypct.com.au/index.php/opinio...

10 March 2016:
[18]http://www.farmonline.com.au/story/37816...

1 December 2016:
[19]http://www.5cs.com.au/news/local-news/60...

 

The inclusion of this additional media coverage extends the supplied media
report evidence to include all years spanning 2011-2016 and represents a
greater diversity of media outlets than I previously provided. It is worth
noting that some of the report which appeared in the Whyalla News (linked
previously) also appeared in other Fairfax papers in South Australia,
including the Stock Journal (which circulates statewide in SA) and the
Eyre Tribune. It is fair to say that interest in this project extends
across Spencer Gulf to communities on both Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas.

 

As such I would like you to please reconsider reducing the fees associated
with this request on the basis of this now more indicative sample of media
coverage of the Lucky Bay Harbor and its extension works. These articles
raise matters of industrial, environmental and regional economic
significance.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Dan Monceaux

 

show quoted sections

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

I wish to request an internal review of the Notice of Charge decision not to reduce or waive the fees associated with this request.

I would you to reconsider points made in my two most recent emails, including the two separate lists of media reports discussing the project in national, regional and specialised publications and broadcasts. I would also like to provide some additional information as further supporting evidence of the Public Interest nature of this request.

It is my understanding that Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula's former Chief Executive Mark Cant played a central role in facilitating the Federal funding which was ultimately provided to support the Lucky Bay harbor extension works.

The funding was issued to the District Council of Franklin Harbor, but the proponent of the development, named on development applications and amendments lodged considered by South Australia's Development Assessment Commission, was Sea Transport Corporation.

Mark Cant left his employment at RDA-WEP in 2013 and was directly employed by Sea Transport as its State Manager. It appears that Mark Cant thus became a financial beneficiary of public funds that he helped administer during his employment at Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula.

Mr Cant's employment history is documented here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-cant-38...

The propriety of Mr Cant's conduct previously prompted legal action undertaken by RDA-WEP against Mr Cant, for making unauthorised payments to his privately owned company, Datum Nominees Pty Ltd. In 2014, The Advertiser reported thus:

"The statement of claim... alleges Mr Cant had a fiduciary duty “not to profit from his position as CEO’’ and had to account to the board “for any profits arising out of opportunities that arise by virtue of being CEO’’ of the board and not to act with a conflict of interest."

Full article here: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south...

The release of this documentation may help to clarify Mr Cant's role in the funding and administration of this project, and thus clarify the extent of his potential conflict of interest.

I have previously asked the department for comment on this, as it pertains to my work as both a public interest researcher and documentary filmmaker.

I thank you for taking the time to reconsider the merits of a fee reduction in support of the Public Interest merits of this request.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Monceaux,

Thank you for your email. We have initiated the internal review process regarding this charges decision, and you can expect to hear back by 26 March 2017.

Regards,

Brad Collins
Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
e [Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development


Attachment FOI 17 62 Internal review of charges.pdf
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Attachment FOI credit card payment authority.pdf
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Dear Mr Monceaux,

Please find attached the decision relating to your request for internal review of the decision to impose charges for your FOI request. The decision was to reduce the amount of charge payable to process your request.

Please note that you will now need to do one of the following:

• Pay the charge or deposit;
• Seek an IC review of the charge; or
• Withdraw your FOI request.

If you have not done one of the above by 26 April 2017 (30 days from today) then your request will be considered withdrawn. I have attached a blank credit card payment authority form for your convenience.

Regards,

Brad Collins
Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
e [Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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Dan Monceaux left an annotation ()

I withdrew my request (by not responding to the internal review decision notice) owing to the burden of the costs associated with pursuing this request.

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From: Dan Monceaux

Delivered

Dear FOI Officers,

Thanks for advising me of the reconsidered costs associated with advancing this request. Regrettably I cannot afford the fees listed, and thus must withdraw my request.

I realise that the 30 day window for replying has closed, but am sending this email for the sake of completeness of yours and my records.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Monceaux

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