Number of visa subclass 601 applications, and further processing, by country

Currently waiting for a response from Department of Home Affairs, they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear Department of Home Affairs,

I am requesting the number of visa subclass 601 (Electronic Travel Authority) applications, and the number of those which were flagged for further processing and such communicated to the application, by the list of countries eligible for visa subclass 601, between the dates of 7 Feb 2022 and 28 Nov 2022.

To clarify, I am seeking data in the along the lines of:

Country | Number of Applicants | Count of flagged for further processing
Country A | 1000 | 900
Country B | 5000 | 1900

Yours faithfully,

Benjamin Limmings

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

Your email has been received by the Department of Home Affairs Freedom of
Information (FOI) Section.

 

The FOI section only responds to valid FOI requests and other matters
relating to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).  Visit the
FOI Information on our Website for more information on what [1]information
can be accessed under the FOI Act 1982.

 

What is a valid FOI request?

 

A valid FOI request may be for:

- documents you previously provided to the Department as part of a visa
application

- a copy of a decision record made by the Department

- statistical information held by the Department

- papers or briefings the Department prepared.

 

If your email is a valid FOI request, the Department will contact you
shortly to acknowledge your request.

 

A valid FOI request must:

o Be in writing and state the request is for consideration under the FOI
Act.
o Have enough information for us to be able to identify the documents
you are seeking.
o Provide a physical or electronic address where we can send our
decision.

 

Do not send duplicate emails as this may cause longer delays in processing
times.

 

What is an invalid FOI request?

 

Invalid FOI requests may include:

- Making a visa application

- Seeking evidence of your Australian Citizenship

- Seeking information about traveling to or departing Australia.

 

If your email is not specific an FOI request or FOI related matter, the
FOI section will not respond.

 

What happens next?

Once we receive and have registered your FOI request, we will send you an
acknowledgment letter by email. Read the acknowledgment letter carefully
for further instructions.

 

FOI requests are generally processed in the order they are received.

 

We will contact you as soon as the Department has assessed your request
under the FOI Act.

 

We’re responding to a large volume of requests

Due to the current high volume of requests, we will not provide progress
up-dates on current FOI requests.  This is to ensure we are able to
process as many requests as possible, including yours.

 

If processing your request is going to take us a lot of time and because
it is large or unspecific, it may be refused.  

 

Still have a question or request?

If you still have a question, which has not been answered above, and which
is about the work of the Department, use our general enquiries web page

[2]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...

 

You may be able to resolve your enquiry faster using these other resources

 

We only action and respond to FOI requests that are valid under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982. You may be able to resolve your enquiry
faster by using these resources:

 

General information about travelling to Australia:

 

The Department of Home Affairs, “Entering Australia” site
[3]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...

 

·       For visa and our requirements for entry to Australia
[4]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/ge...

For a copy of your visa refusal or visa grant letter you should contact
the office where you lodged your visa application. 

·       To check your current visa details and conditions use the
Department’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) portal which can
be accessed [5]here

·       If you are experiencing technical difficulties in lodging your
visa application through ImmiAccount, submit your concerns through the
ImmiAccount Technical Support Form, which is accessible [6]here.

·       For evidence of your Australian Citizenship please refer [7]here.
The FOI Section does not process these requests.

·       For movement records or travel history complete the online
International Movement Records form [8]here. The FOI Section does not
process these requests.

·       To update your details, including your Passport details, you can
notify the Department [9]here. The FOI Section does not process these
requests.

 

 

We appreciate your feedback         

We appreciate your feedback to help improve our services.

 

If you would like to provide feedback to us please use our Compliments,
complaints and suggestions form.
[10]https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-...

 

 

Thank you

Information updated 11 January 2022

 

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by
the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
attachments immediately.  This email, including attachments, may contain
confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. 
The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this
email.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/access-an...
2. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...
3. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...
4. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/ge...
5. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/al...
6. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...
7. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizens...
8. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...
9. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/change-i...
10. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-...

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

OFFICIAL: Sensitive
Personal-Privacy

 

In reply please quote:

FOI Request:       FA 22/11/01438

File Number:        FA2211/01438 

Dear Benjamin Limmings

Acknowledgement of Freedom of Information Access request

This letter acknowledges that on 28 November 2022 the Department of Home
Affairs (the Department) received your request to access documents held
by  the Department under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI
Act). This letter also provides important information about your request.

Scope of request

You have requested access to the following:

I am requesting the number of visa subclass 601 (Electronic Travel
Authority) applications, and the number of those which were flagged for
further processing and such communicated to the application, by the list
of countries eligible for visa subclass 601, between the dates of 7 Feb
2022 and 28 Nov 2022.

To clarify, I am seeking data in the along the lines of:

Country    | Number of Applicants | Count of flagged for further
processing
Country A | 1000                           | 900
Country B | 5000                           | 1900
.

Your request has been allocated FOI request number FA 22/11/01438 . Please
include your FOI request number in all correspondence with the Freedom of
Information Section.

Timeframe

 

The timeframe for processing a request is 30 days from the day we receive
your request, as set out in the FOI Act.

 

Your review rights in relation to your request are available on [1]the
website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Fees and Charges

Charges do not apply to requests from individuals seeking access to
documents about themselves. However, a charge may apply to all other
requests for access to documents.

Charges are based on the amount of time the Department spends on your
request. Charges can range from $10 to over $1,000 depending on the
complexity and scope of your request. The Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner reported that across the public service, the
average charge notified was $335.50 in 2020-21.

If a charge applies, you will be issued with a Notice of Charge that
explains the charge and your options.

Detailed information about FOI charges that may apply to your FOI request
is available on [2]the Department’s website.

We do not provide personal details of staff

 

The Department’s practice is to exclude the personal details of staff not
in the Senior Executive Service (SES), as well as the direct contact
details of SES staff, contained in documents that fall within scope of an
FOI request. If you require personal details of non-SES officers, or
direct contact details of SES staff, please inform us so the decision
maker may consider your request. Otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request. However
names of staff that have previously been released in departmental
correspondence may be disclosed.

We do not provide duplicated documents

 

If the FOI decision-maker deems a document to be a duplicate, they will
not assess those pages as part of your FOI request. This means that if a
there is a decision to release the document to you, you will receive only
one copy, even if multiple copies of that document exist.

Publication of document

Released documents you request may be published to our website

 

Where documents are released to you in response to your request, the
Department may be required to publish these documents on its website
within 10 working days in accordance with section 11C of the FOI Act.
Publication will not be required where the documents contain personal or
business affairs information.

 

How to reduce or withdraw your request

 

Reducing the scope of your request can reduce the time and charges
associated with processing your FOI request.

 

To reduce or withdraw your request, contact the FOI section at
[3][Department of Home Affairs request email] and include your FOI request number.

Contacting the FOI Section

 

Should you wish to discuss your request you may contact the FOI Section at
[Department of Home Affairs request email].

 

 

Ayesha

Position number: 60100052

Authorised FOI Officer

FOI and Records Management Branch

Legal Group

Department Of Home Affairs

E: [4][Department of Home Affairs request email]

 

 

Personal-Privacy
OFFICIAL: Sensitive

 

 

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by
the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
attachments immediately.  This email, including attachments, may contain
confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. 
The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this
email.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
2. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/access-an...
3. mailto:[Department of Home Affairs request email]
4. mailto:[Department of Home Affairs request email]

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

FOI Request FA 22/11/01438

Good morning Mr Limmings, []

I refer to your request received on 28 November 2022 for access to
documents under the FOI Act. 

The current due date for your request is 28 December 2022. 

Due to extended public holiday closures at this time of year, in order for
the Department to complete the process of retrieving all the documents
that fall within the scope of your request the Department will require
additional time to process your request.

The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to
extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days.  This
would extend the due date for your request to 27 January 2023. 

It would assist the Department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Monday 19
December 2022.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to
contact me on the details below.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[Electronically signed]

 

Phil

Position No. 60157242

Authorised FOI Officer - Freedom of Information

FOI and Records Management Branch | Legal Group

Department of Home Affairs  | [1]www.homeaffairs.gov.au

Email [2][Department of Home Affairs request email]

[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D85BA0.642F5C30

OFFICIAL

 

 

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by
the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
attachments immediately.  This email, including attachments, may contain
confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. 
The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this
email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/
2. mailto:[Department of Home Affairs request email]

Dear Phil (Position No. 60157242),
I appreaciate the end of year public holiday and office closures. Given this, I agree under section 15AA of the FOI Act, to extend the timeframe for the processing to 27 January 2023.

Yours sincerely,

Benjamin Limmings

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL

 

In reply please quote:

FOI Request: FA 22/11/01438

File Number: FA22/11/01438      

 

Dear Mr Limmings,

 

I refer to your request to access documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act), which the Department of Home Affairs
(the Department) received on 28 November 2022.

 

As provided under section 29 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the
FOI Act) and the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 (the
Regulations), I have determined that payment is required for this request
to be processed.

 

Preliminary assessment of charges

 

I have assessed the work the Department would need to do to process your
request, taking into account the time that would be spent by the relevant
business areas in producing documents from the Department’s computer
systems under section 17 of the FOI Act and assessing the documents for
release. I have calculated the charge as follows:

 

Search and retrieval: (5 hours @ $15 per hour) = $75.00

Decision making: No charge

(no charges are applied for the first five hours of decision-making)

 

Total: $75.00

(charge has been rounded down to the nearest whole dollar amount)

 

Next steps

 

 

Within 30 days of this email you must:

 

•      pay the charge or optional deposit indicated in the attached
invoice for your request to proceed, and/or

•      write to the Department if you believe the charge has been wrongly
assessed, should be reduced or not imposed, or

•      withdraw your request.

 

Your request will not be processed until you take one of these actions.
Your request will be withdrawn if you do not take action with 30 days.

 

 

Option 1: Pay the charge or an optional deposit

 

You can either pay the full amount now, or a deposit of $20.00.

 

You will receive a final notice of charges once the Department has made
its decision on your access request. No documents will be released to you
until you have paid any outstanding charges.

If the Department does not make a decision on your request within the
statutory time limit, we will refund your payment.

 

Details of how to pay are contained in the attached invoice.

 

Option 2: Write to the Department to contend charges are incorrect or
should be waived or reduced

 

You can contest the charge on the grounds that the charge was not properly
calculated, or:

 

•       that payment of the charge, or part of it, would cause you
financial hardship

•       that giving access to the documents is in the general public
interest, or in the interest of a substantial section of the public.

 

This is not an exhaustive list and the Department may consider any other
relevant matters.

 

Please set out your reasons as clearly as possible and provide supporting
evidence.

 

The Department has a statutory timeframe of 30 days from the date of your
response to make a decision to reduce or not impose a charge. We will
notify you of our charges decision in writing.

 

You may still dispute the charge if you have paid the charge or a deposit.
If the Department agrees to reduce or waive the charge, and the final
charge amount is less than the amount you have paid, we will issue you
with a refund.

 

Option 3: Withdraw your request

 

To withdraw your request, please send an email to
[1][Department of Home Affairs request email] or reply to this email stating that you wish to
withdraw the request.

 

If you withdraw your request, we will close your request and no charges
will be incurred.

 

Timeframe for your response

 

You must respond to this notice within 30 days, which is by Friday, 27
January 2023.

 

If you do not provide a written response within this timeframe your
request will be deemed withdrawn under section 29(2) of the Act. No
charges will be incurred.

 

Legislation and further information

 

A copy of the FOI Act is available at
[2]https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2...

 

Information about how we calculate charges can be seen at: [3]We consider
your Freedom of Information request (homeaffairs.gov.au)

 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner also provides
information about charging at: [4]What charges may apply? - Home
(oaic.gov.au)

 

Contact

 

Please contact [5][Department of Home Affairs request email] if you have any questions about
this notice.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[Electronically signed]

 

Phil

Position No. 60157242

Authorised FOI Officer - Freedom of Information

FOI and Records Management Branch | Legal Group

Department of Home Affairs  | [6]www.homeaffairs.gov.au

Email [7][Department of Home Affairs request email]

[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D85BA0.642F5C30

 

 

OFFICIAL

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Phil,

I would like to contend that the charges are incorrect or should be waived or reduced.

1. The assessment of charges has not been provided in accordance with the Act.

Subsection 29(b) of the Act stipulates that in relation to charges I should have "... written notice stating: ... the basis on which the assessment is made."

While it has been communicated to that it would take 5 hours search and retrieval time, you have not stated the basis on which that assessment has been made.

I am in the dark about the basis on which the assessment that this request will take 5 hours and $75 has been made, and I am unable to judge whether or not that's reasonable.

I consequently contend that your notice is deficient with respect to subsection 29(b) of the Act, and I ask that you please provide me with written notice of the basis upon which this assessment has been made.

2. Public interest.

There has been media attention and online discussion on the challenges on getting tourist visa's since the Australian border opened on 14 Feb 2022. One of the items of controversy is whether there is a pattern of profiling for would be tourists to Australia.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/aust...

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-06/f...

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2...

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/...

https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/09/0...

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g2...

https://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/threa...

The information I have requested enables analysis on whether there is profiling for would be tourists to Australia, or it is a systematic issue that impacts all passport holders. The general public at large is entitled to know if the ETA system is faulty. The Tourism industry, which is a substantial section of the public, is entitled to know if the ETA system is hampering the recovery of the tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sound policy development and criticism, necessarily supported by this FOI request, is in the public interest, and therefore qualifies for a section 29(5)(b) fee waiver.

I await your consideration of these matters.

Happy holidays,

Benjamin Limmings

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

Your email has been received by the Department of Home Affairs Freedom of
Information (FOI) Section.

 

The FOI section only responds to valid FOI requests and other matters
relating to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).  Visit the
FOI Information on our Website for more information on what [1]information
can be accessed under the FOI Act 1982.

 

What is a valid FOI request?

 

A valid FOI request may be for:

- documents you previously provided to the Department as part of a visa
application

- a copy of a decision record made by the Department

- statistical information held by the Department

- papers or briefings the Department prepared.

 

If your email is a valid FOI request, the Department will contact you
shortly to acknowledge your request.

 

A valid FOI request must:

o Be in writing and state the request is for consideration under the FOI
Act.
o Have enough information for us to be able to identify the documents
you are seeking.
o Provide a physical or electronic address where we can send our
decision.

 

Do not send duplicate emails as this may cause longer delays in processing
times.

 

What is an invalid FOI request?

 

Invalid FOI requests may include:

- Making a visa application

- Seeking evidence of your Australian Citizenship

- Seeking information about traveling to or departing Australia.

 

If your email is not specific an FOI request or FOI related matter, the
FOI section will not respond.

 

What happens next?

Once we receive and have registered your FOI request, we will send you an
acknowledgment letter by email. Read the acknowledgment letter carefully
for further instructions.

 

FOI requests are generally processed in the order they are received.

 

We will contact you as soon as the Department has assessed your request
under the FOI Act.

 

We’re responding to a large volume of requests

Due to the current high volume of requests, we will not provide progress
up-dates on current FOI requests.  This is to ensure we are able to
process as many requests as possible, including yours.

 

If processing your request is going to take us a lot of time and because
it is large or unspecific, it may be refused.  

 

Still have a question or request?

If you still have a question, which has not been answered above, and which
is about the work of the Department, use our general enquiries web page

[2]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...

 

You may be able to resolve your enquiry faster using these other resources

 

We only action and respond to FOI requests that are valid under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982. You may be able to resolve your enquiry
faster by using these resources:

 

General information about travelling to Australia:

 

The Department of Home Affairs, “Entering Australia” site
[3]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...

 

·       For visa and our requirements for entry to Australia
[4]https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/ge...

For a copy of your visa refusal or visa grant letter you should contact
the office where you lodged your visa application. 

·       To check your current visa details and conditions use the
Department’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) portal which can
be accessed [5]here

·       If you are experiencing technical difficulties in lodging your
visa application through ImmiAccount, submit your concerns through the
ImmiAccount Technical Support Form, which is accessible [6]here.

·       For evidence of your Australian Citizenship please refer [7]here.
The FOI Section does not process these requests.

·       For movement records or travel history complete the online
International Movement Records form [8]here. The FOI Section does not
process these requests.

·       To update your details, including your Passport details, you can
notify the Department [9]here. The FOI Section does not process these
requests.

 

 

We appreciate your feedback         

We appreciate your feedback to help improve our services.

 

If you would like to provide feedback to us please use our Compliments,
complaints and suggestions form.
[10]https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-...

 

 

Thank you

Information updated 11 January 2022

 

Important Notice: The content of this email is intended only for use by
the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
attachments immediately.  This email, including attachments, may contain
confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. 
The Department of Home Affairs and ABF respect your privacy and have
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  

Unsolicited commercial emails MUST NOT be sent to the originator of this
email.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/access-an...
2. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...
3. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...
4. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/ge...
5. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/al...
6. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-sup...
7. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizens...
8. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering...
9. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/change-i...
10. https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-...

FOI Reviews mailbox, Department of Home Affairs

OFFICIAL

Dear Mr Limmings

Can you please clarify whether you are seeking internal review of the charges notice or are requesting a waiver of the charges?

OFFICIAL

Your email appears to be contending the charges and requesting a waiver of the charges with the original decision maker, however the subject matter of your email is titled 'internal review'?

Grateful for your clarification so we can direct you request appropriately.

Thank you.

Regards

Rachel
Freedom of Information | Reviews team
FOI and Records Management Branch | Legal Group
Department of Home Affairs
Email: [email address]

Championing government accountability and transparency by enabling access to information.

show quoted sections

Dear Rachel,
Thanks for getting back to me.
I am requesting a waiver of the charges, based on the reasons provided in my earlier email.

Yours sincerely,

Benjamin Limmings

FOI Reviews mailbox, Department of Home Affairs

OFFICIAL

Hi Benjamin

Thank you for clarifying.

I will therefore direct your message back to the original case officer who will decide your request for a waiver of the charges.

Kind regards

Rachel
Assistant Director
Freedom of Information | Reviews team
FOI and Records Management Branch | Legal Group
Department of Home Affairs

Championing government accountability and transparency by enabling access to information.

OFFICIAL

show quoted sections

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

1 Attachment

OFFICIAL

In reply please quote:

FOI Request:  FA 22/11/01438

File Number:   FA22/11/01438      

 

Dear Mr Limmings

 

Freedom of Information (FOI) request – Notice of charge decision following
applicant contention that charge be reduced or not imposed (s 29(8))

On 28 November 2022, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department)
received a request for access to documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

1            Scope of request

You have requested access to the following documents:

I am requesting the number of visa subclass 601 (Electronic Travel
Authority) applications, and the number of those which were flagged for
further processing and such communicated to the application, by the list
of countries eligible for visa subclass 601, between the dates of 7 Feb
2022 and 28 Nov 2022.

 

To clarify, I am seeking data in the along the lines of:

 

Country    | Number of Applicants | Count of flagged for further
processing

Country A | 1000 | 900

Country B | 5000 | 1900

 

On 19 December 2022 the Department wrote to you to advise you that a
preliminary assessment had been made that you were liable to pay a charge
of $75.00 for the processing of this FOI request.

 

On 23 December 2022 you requested a waiver or reduction of charges
pursuant to section 29(b) of the Act, on grounds of the basis the
assessment is made and 29(5)(b) of the Act, on the grounds of public
interest.

 

This letter provides my decision on your request.

2        Authority to make decision

I am an officer authorised under section 23 of the FOI Act to make
decisions in respect of requests to access documents or to amend or
annotate records.

 

 

3          Decision on waiver or reduction of charges

 

I have decided not to vary the original assessment of the charge. The
amount you are liable to pay is $75.00. The reasons for my decision under
s 29(4) are set out below.

 

4          Reasons for my decision

 

I have considered the following:

·       whether payment of the charge, or part of it, would cause
financial hardship to the applicant or a person on whose behalf the
application was made;

o whether giving access to the document in question is in the general
public interest or in the interest of a substantial section of the
public;
o the arguments you have put forward in your email of 23 December 2022;
o any other relevant matter including any other submission as to why a
charge should be reduced or waived;
o whether disclosure of a document would advance the objects of the Act;

My decision in relation to your waiver request is set out below:

Calculation of charges

As stated in the Preliminary Charge Notice of 19 December 2022, the charge
of is for the search and retrieval of documents. The charge of $15 per
hour is prescribed by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Charges Regulations
2019. The responsible business area advised that search and retrieval
activities took five (5) hours, and the charge of $75 was calculated on
that basis. You have not been charges for any decision making time.

Having reviewed the way the charges were calculated, I am satisfied that
the charges were correctly assessed and accurately estimate the work
effort required by the Department to complete processing of your request.

Financial Hardship

I have considered whether payment of the charge would cause you to suffer
financial hardship.

Interpretation of the term ‘financial hardship’ is based on ‘AY’ and the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2014] AICmr 7 (28 January 2014). In
this decision (summarised by the OAIC’s FOI Guidelines at 4.101):

‘Financial hardship exists when payment of the debt would leave you unable
to provide food, accommodation, clothing, medical treatment, education or
other necessities for yourself or your family, or other people for whom
you are responsible’.

I note that you have not made any claim that payment of the charge would
result in financial hardship to you and/or your employer. I have therefore
determined that payment of the charge, or part of it, would not cause
financial hardship.

Public Interest

You claim that release of the document in scope of your request is in the
public interest because:

 

‘There has been media attention and online discussion on the challenges on
getting tourist visa's since the Australian border opened on 14 Feb 2022.
One of the items of controversy is whether there is a pattern of profiling
for would be tourists to Australia’.

 

You also assert:

 

‘the information I have requested enables analysis on whether there is
profiling for would be tourists to Australia, or it is a systematic issue
that impacts all passport holders. The general public at large is entitled
to know if the ETA system is faulty. The Tourism industry, which is a
substantial section of the public, is entitled to know if the ETA system
is hampering the recovery of the tourism industry from the COVID-19
pandemic. Sound policy development and criticism, necessarily supported by
this FOI request, is in the public interest, and therefore qualifies for a
section 29(5)(b) fee waiver’.

You have provided links to a number of media articles in support of your
claim.

I have carefully considered your submission on this matter, but am not
satisfied that the document you have requested is in the general public
interest or in the interest of a substantial section of the public. The
statistical information you have requested relates to a single visa class
and is therefore likely to be of interest to a limited section of the
community, with an interest in Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). I
therefore do not accept that there would be broad public interest in this
document from a substantial section of the Australian community.

For the above reasons I have decided not to vary the original assessment
of the charge.

 

5          Next steps in processing your request

 

Please refer to the Notice of Charge sent to you on 19 December 2022 and
attached here, for further guidance on processing your request.

 

6          Time in which to respond

 

Under the Act you have 30 days from the date of this notice to provide the
Department with a response to my decision and either agree to pay the
charges or seek an internal review of my decision. Your full review rights
can be found below.

 

Therefore, you must provide the Department with a written response as to
how you wish to proceed by close of business Thursday 2 February 2023.

 

7          Review rights

 

Internal review

 

If you disagree with my decision, you have the right to apply for an
internal review by the Department my decision. Any request for internal
review must be provided to the Department by the date set out above. Where
possible please attach reasons why you believe review of the decision is
necessary. The internal review will be carried out by an officer other
than the original decision-maker and the Department must make a review
decision within 30 days.

 

Applications for review should be sent to:

By email to: [1][email address].

OR

By mail to:

Freedom of Information Section

Department of Home Affairs

PO Box 25

BELCONNEN ACT 2617

 

Review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

 

You may apply directly to the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) for a review of my decision. You must apply in writing
within 60 days of this notice. For further information about review rights
and how to submit a review request to the OAIC, please see FOI fact sheet
12 ‘Freedom of information – Your review rights’, available online at
[2]www.oaic.gov.au.

 

8          How to make a complaint about the handling of this FOI request

You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner about action
taken by the Department in relation to your request.

Your enquiries to the Australian Information Commissioner can be directed
to:

Phone 1300 363 992 (local call charge)
Email  [3][email address].

There is no particular form required to make a complaint to the Australian
Information Commissioner. The request should be in writing and should set
out the grounds on which it is considered that the action taken in
relation to the request should be investigated and identify the Department
of Home Affairs as the relevant agency.

 

9          Contacting the FOI Section

Should you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to
contact the FOI Section at [Department of Home Affairs request email].

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[Electronically signed]

 

Phil

Position No. 60157242

Authorised FOI Officer - Freedom of Information

FOI and Records Management Branch | Legal Group

Department of Home Affairs  | [4]www.homeaffairs.gov.au

Email [5][Department of Home Affairs request email]

[6]cid:image002.jpg@01D85BA0.642F5C30

OFFICIAL

 

 

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the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received
this email by mistake, please advise the sender and delete the message and
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confidential, sensitive, legally privileged and/or copyright information.
 

Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information
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References

Visible links
1. mailto:foi.reviews@
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/
5. mailto:[Department of Home Affairs request email]

Dear Phil,

Payment of AUD75 has been made via Receipt 3097 9557 059. I look forward to this information being disclosed in a timely manner.

Yours sincerely,

Benjamin Limmings