Ministerial Submission MS22-00569

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Minister for Veterans’ Affairs,

I apply under the Freedom of Information Act for copy of Ministerial Submission MS22-00569, received by the Minister in 2022.

The names of individuals within that document who are not SES grade are not required.

Attachments are not required.

Telephone and email details are not required.

Yours faithfully,

Jenny

FOI, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

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Thank you.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

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INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

6 Attachments

Dear Jenny ,

 

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (the department) has received your
request for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (FOI Act). I note you have requested access to the following:

 

''I apply under the Freedom of Information Act for copy of Ministerial
Submission MS22-00569, received by the Minister in 2022.
The names of individuals within that document who are not SES grade are
not required.
Attachments are not required.
Telephone and email details are not required.''

 

Your request was received by the department on 16 March 2024 and the
ordinary 30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced
from the day after that date.

 

If we are in a position to make a decision on your request earlier than
this date, we will endeavour to do so.

 

The statutory period may also be extended if we need to consult third
parties or for other reasons permitted under the FOI Act. We will advise
you if this happens.

 

Charges

 

If the Department considers that a charge will apply to your request, you
will be notified within 14 days of an estimate of the charges that will
apply to your request for non-personal information before we process any
requested documents or impose a final charge.

 

Your address

 

The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address that we can send
notices to. You have advised your contact address is
[1][FOI #11236 email] . Unless you tell us
otherwise, we will send all notices and correspondence to this address.

 

Disclosure log

 

Information released under the FOI Act may be published on a disclosure
log on our website, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions
include where publication of personal, business, professional or
commercial information would be unreasonable.

 

Further assistance

 

If you have any questions about your request, please email
[2][email address]

 

 

Kind Regards

 

Arthur Information Access Registrations Officer

Position Number – 62341836

Information Access Unit

Ministerial, International & Stakeholder Relations Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

[3][email address]

[4]www.dva.gov.au

[5]cid:image001.png@01D8F043.829927E0[6]cid:image002.png@01D8F043.829927E0[7]cid:image003.png@01D8F043.829927E0[8]cid:image004.png@01D8F043.829927E0

[9]cid:image005.jpg@01D8F043.829927E0

[10]cid:image006.jpg@01D8F043.829927E0

 

References

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3. mailto:[email address]
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INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Dear Jenny,

 

I refer to your request below.

 

The Ministerial Correspondence Unit confirmed that there is one digit
missing in the MS (Ministerial Submission) reference number that you
provided in your request?

 

Can you please advise us again the correct MS reference number.

 

Agreement to amend the Freedom of Information request to be processed
under the administrative access arrangements

 

Can you respond to this email giving the Department written approval,
acknowledging your agreement for the department to process your request
administratively and withdrawing your request under the FOI Act, by
replying this email and stating ‘you agree’.  If you do not agree, the
Department will continue on processing this request under the FOI Act.

 

We appreciate if you can provide us a response by COB Thursday 11 April
2024.

 

Kind regards,

Frankie| A/g Senior Information Access Officer

Position 62373489

Information Access Unit

Ministerial, International & Stakeholder Relations Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[email address]

www.dva.gov.au 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

Apologies. A zero was left off. The full reference number for that document was MS22-000596.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Dear Jenny,

 

Thank you for the information. 

 

I have just provided the correct MS reference details to the Ministerial
Correspondence Unit.  As the line area only commences the search just now
and the FOI decision will be due in six days, are you in the position to
agree for an extension of time under s 15AA of the FOI Act?

 

You can provide up to 30 days of extension to the Department.

 

Please provide us a response by COB 11 April 2024.

 

Thank you for your assistance.

 

Kind regards,

Frankie| A/g Senior Information Access Officer

Position 62373489

Information Access Unit

Ministerial, International & Stakeholder Relations Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[email address]

www.dva.gov.au 

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Dear Jenny,

 

I am checking the MS reference number with you again.

 

Please be advised that is no search result for MS22- 000596, meaning that
the reference you provided in your previous email is incorrect. 

 

However there is a search result for MS22-000569.

 

Please confirm that the correct reference number is MS22-000569.

 

 

Kind regards,

Frankie| A/g Senior Information Access Officer

Position 62373489

Information Access Unit

Ministerial, International & Stakeholder Relations Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

[email address]

www.dva.gov.au 

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

The “search” is for *one* document that due to the MS reference number given, can be pulled up in PDMS in seconds. That doesn’t require additional time.

As DVA has seven open deemed refusal decisions it has still yet to provide decisions for to me (some nearly five months old) that would be inappropriate.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

My FOI request was for MS22-00569.

As stated, I left a zero off. So MS22-000569.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

Dear Minister of Veterans Affairs,

This FOI was made to the Minister of Veterans Affairs on 15 March, lodged at the Minister’s nominated email address for FOIs.

A decision was required to be provided, given no extension of time, yesterday on access to this one document that has been located.

Instead no decision has been made and a deemed refusal has occurred.

Please respond stating the latest date this decision will be given by to replace this deemed refusal.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

I request copy of the record of administration of this FOI made on 16 March 2024, which I can see from other FOIs here you can produce from LEX, to see why such an unreasonable and excessive delay has occurred.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

2 Attachments

Dear Jenny,

 

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (the department) has received your
request for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (FOI Act). I note you have requested access to the following:

 

'...I request copy of the record of administration of this FOI made on 16
March 2024, which I can see from other FOIs here you can produce from LEX,
to see why such an unreasonable and excessive delay has occurred...'

 

Your request was received by the department on 23 April 2024 and the
ordinary 30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced
from the day after that date.

 

If we are in a position to make a decision on your request earlier than
this date, we will endeavour to do so.

 

The statutory period may also be extended if we need to consult third
parties or for other reasons permitted under the FOI Act. We will advise
you if this happens.

 

Charges

 

If the Department considers that a charge will apply to your request, you
will be notified within 14 days of an estimate of the charges that will
apply to your request for non-personal information before we process any
requested documents or impose a final charge.

 

Your address

 

The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address that we can send
notices to. You have advised your contact address is
[1][FOI #11236 email]  . Unless you tell us
otherwise, we will send all notices and correspondence to this address.

 

Disclosure log

 

Information released under the FOI Act may be published on a disclosure
log on our website, subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions
include where publication of personal, business, professional or
commercial information would be unreasonable.

 

Further assistance

 

If you have any questions about your request, please email
[2][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Kevin| Information Access Officer

Position 62373493

Information Access Unit

Client and Information Access Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

[3][email address]

[4]www.dva.gov.au 

[5]cid:image008.jpg@01D8EA24.8F7FA8A0

[6]cid:image009.jpg@01D8EA24.8F7FA8A0

 

References

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1. mailto:[FOI #11236 email]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.dva.gov.au/

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

7 Attachments

Dear Jenny,

 

Thank you for your request for information under the FOI Act 1982,
received by the Department on 23 April 2024.

 

Please find attached a 24AB Consultation Notice.

 

Zoey| Senior Information Access Officer

Position Number: 62214764

Information Access Unit 

Client and Information Access Branch
Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

 

P: 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

E: [1][email address]

W: [2]www.dva.gov.au 
[3]cid:image001.png@01DAA15D.34C1D680[4]cid:image001.png@01DA10AE.79E29FA0[5]Linkedin
Icon Svg Download : Linkedin Logo Vector at GetDrawings | Free
...[6]Youtube, Logo Youtube, Logo Youtube PNG, Logo Youtube Vektor, Logo
... 

[7]Title: Flags - Description: 3 Australian flags in a row (from left to
right): the Australian National flag, the Australian Aboriginal flag and
the Torres Strait Islander flag.

[8]cid:image007.jpg@01D97E71.443616E0

 

References

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Dear Zoey of INFORMATION.ACCESS,

Section 24 of the FOI Act requires an agency to undertake a requestion consultation
process if they are satisfied, when dealing with a request, that a practical refusal reason
exists. This means that it was appropriate to commence a request consultation process only
if a practical refusal reason existed in relation to the request.

Section 24AA(1)(b) of the FOI Act provides that a practical refusal reason exists in
relation to a request if the request does not satisfy the requirement in section 15(2)(b) of the
FOI Act to include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible
officer of the agency to identify the documents requested.

The Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section
93A of the FOI Act (the Guidelines) provide the following guidance to agencies at
paragraphs 3.109 and 3.110 when dealing with requests that are considered unclear:

A formal requirement of making an FOI request is that the request must provide such
information as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency
or the minister to identify the document that is requested (s 15(2)(b)). This differs
from other formal requirements, in that a failure to comply with this requirement is
classified by the Act as a ‘practical refusal reason’ for which a request consultation
process is required.

An agency should not wait until the practical refusal stage to help an applicant to
clarify their request. The following considerations should also be borne in mind
before a request consultation process is commenced:

• A request can be described quite broadly and must be read fairly by an agency or
minister, being mindful not to take a narrow or pedantic approach to its
construction.

• An applicant may not know exactly what documents exist and may describe a
class of documents, for example: all documents relating to a particular person or
subject matter; or all documents of a specified class that contain information of a
particular kind; or all documents held in a particular place relating to a subject
or person. Where the applicant has requested a class of documents, it may be
useful for the agency to explain to the applicant the information that is contained
in those documents, as this may assist the applicant to narrow the scope of his or
her request to a specific set of documents, resulting in less time spent on
processing irrelevant material.

• Although a request under the FOI Act must be for ‘documents’, rather than for
‘information’, a request may be phrased by reference to the information that a
document contains. This may in fact be an effective and concise way for an FOI
applicant to identify documents.

• A request does not need to quote a file or folio number.

Paragraph 3.128 of the Guidelines also provides:

Before commencing a formal request consultation process, agencies and ministers’
offices are encouraged to discuss the request with the applicant. This is often a more
efficient way of obtaining further information from the applicant and helping them
to refine a request that is too large or vague. However, if the applicant cannot be
contacted promptly, or the discussion does not elicit information that allows
relevant documents to be identified, the request consultation process should be
commenced.

FINDINGS

A request consultation process should not have been undertaken, as the Department
could not have been reasonably satisfied that a practical refusal reason existed in
relation to the request. Although the applicant’s request included the phrase “record of administration”, it appeared within the phrase “the record of administration of this FOI … which I can see from other FOIs here you can produce from LEX”, which was not vague and the documents the applicant was seeking were clear.

As stated in paragraph 3.110 of the Guidelines, a request can be described
broadly and for a class of documents, in this case for documents that can produced using LEX regarding how this FOI was administered.

Examples of such documents are, as the FOI request stated, been previously released on Right to Know by the Department such as in LEX 50625 which in the first 15 pages of the bundle released shows the LEX report that can be produced under s 17 to provide a record of the administration of a FOI made to the Department.

The FOI therefore did provide sufficient information to enable the Department to locate the documents sought, contrary to the Department’s claim.

Section 24AB(6) states that I must elect to either withdraw, vary or indicate I do not wish to vary my FOI. Section 24AB(8) states that once I do any of those three options, the request consultation period ends and no further extension of time applies.

I give response that I do not wish to vary my FOI (nor do I wish to bundle separately made FOIs) as the scope of the FOI does satisfy s 15(2)(b) in that it identified the documents in scope where those documents that can be produced in LEX for that FOI that records how the Department processed that FOI and referred you to the examples available on Right to Know of such LEX reports. As such, the FOI scope was within s 15(2)(b) and the Information Commissioner Guidelines.

As the practical refusal consultation notice was issued today, and the practical refusal consultation extension of time period only commences the day after such a notice is given, my section 24AB(6)(c) response today means that no extension of time applies to this FOI.

This FOI still is due for decision no later than 23 May 2024.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

3 Attachments

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Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs,

Whatever that was, I can’t read it as the link is blocked.

Why are you sending correspondence about this non-personal information FOI via a different manner than normal, including those provided previously to me? The size listed is under that of previous documents sent to Right to Know by the DVA, so that is not the purpose.

For example:

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/i...

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/h...

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/e...

It appears this change of method is simply another way of delaying this long overdue decision.

Resend in the normal way.

Yours faithfully,

Jenny

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

10 Attachments

Dear Jenny,

 

Please find attached decision letter and documents for your matter LEX
67047, provided originally on 23 May 2024.

 

Kind regards,

 

Will (He/Him) | Information Access Officer

Position Number 62373495

Information Access Unit

Client and Information Access Branch

Ministerial, Communication & Engagement Division

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Tel 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

[1][email address]

[2]www.dva.gov.au 

[3][IMG][4]cid:image001.png@01DA10AE.79E29FA0 [5]cid:image003.png@01DA10AE.79E29FA0[6]cid:image004.png@01DA10AE.79E29FA0            

[7]Title: Flags - Description: 3 Australian flags in a row (from left to
right): the Australian National flag, the Australian Aboriginal flag and
the Torres Strait Islander flag.

[8]Title: DVA logo - Description: DVA standard signature block logo with
the Commonwealth Coat of Arms in the top left corner. The words
“Australian Government. Department of Veterans’ Affairs” are to the right
of the Coat of Arms and below are the words “To support those who serve or
have served in the defence of our nation and commemorate their service and
sacrifice”.

For what they have done, this we will do.

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear INFORMATION.ACCESS,

If the business area tasked already has released its marked up documents over a month ago, having admitted those delays were due to its fault, why has DVA failed to make decision in the 30 days+ since?

Yours sincerely,

Jenny