Reasons for selection of sites for The Public Housing Renewal Program

Geoff Clarke made this Freedom of Information request to ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce

The request was partially successful.

From: Geoff Clarke

Delivered

Dear ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce,

Would you please provide a copy of the Taskforce's Report which details the analysis and decision making process behind the recommended subdivision of Stapylton Street Block 2 Section 21 for up to 30 supportive houses.

Your timely response would be appreciated in view of the short time available for community input.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Geoff Clarke

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Sent request to ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce again, using a new contact address.

From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce

Thank you for your email to the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic
Development Directorate (CMTEDD) Freedom of Information (FOI) mailbox. The
Directorate will respond in due course.

 

Information and guidance material regarding handling of requests submitted
to the Directorate under the [1]Freedom of Information Act 1989 is
available on the [2]CMTEDD FOI webpage at
[3]http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/functions/foi.

 

 

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References

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1. http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/alt_...
2. http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/functions/foi
3. http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/functions/foi

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From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce


Attachment Acknowledgement letter.pdf
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Dear Mr Clarke

Please find attached a letter acknowledging your Freedom of Information request below.

Regards

Corinne Thompson | Project Officer | Governance
Corporate Management
Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate | ACT Government

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From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce


Attachment Consultation Letter to Applicant.pdf
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Dear Mr Clarke

Please find attached a letter from Mr David Collett advising you of consultation being undertaken in relation to your Freedom of Information request.

Regards

Corinne Thompson | Project Officer | Governance Corporate Management Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate | ACT Government

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From: Geoff Clarke

Delivered

Dear CMTEDD FOI,

After waiting for the full 30 days allowed by the FOI Act I received a curt response to my request saying "Documents identified as relevant to your request contain references regarding third parties" and "...the Act provides for a 30 day extension to the original statutory 30 day time limit...".
It is reasonable to expect that if significant issues existed in the Report, the Government should have been able to identify these issues immediately instead of taking the full 30 days allowed by law before triggering an extension.
No details were provided, no offer to send documents not containing "references" or with the references redacted.
This is a delaying tactic being used by the Government to ensure their reports relevant to consultation on the proposed public housing development in Holder are not made available to the community during the period they have allowed for community consultation.
The Government is acting contrary to the provisions of the FOI Act that "discretions conferred by this Act are exercised as far as possible to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of information".

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Clarke

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From: Geoff Clarke

Delivered

Dear ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce's handling of my FOI request 'Reasons for selection of sites for The Public Housing Renewal Program'.

I am objecting to the reply I received to my FOI request (CMTEDD 63/16-17 on 21 April 2017 from David Collett, Executive Director, Public Housing Renewal Taskforce).

On 22 March 2017, I requested the Taskforce’s Report under section 14 of the ACT Freedom of Information Act 1989 (the Act). The Object of the Act includes “creating a general right to access information in documentary form in possession of Ministers and agencies” and “…are exercised as far as possible to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of information”.

The Act requires the Government to make a decision on providing access to the information sought within 30 days. On the 21 April, the latest date allowed by the Act for a decision on my request, I received your response stating

Documents identified as relevant to your request contain references regarding third parties. As such, I have decided under section 27 of the Act that these third parties may reasonably wish to contend that the documents should be treated as exempt under section 43 (business affairs) of the Act. As decision maker I am not bound by a third party’s submission, but I am bound to consider them in making my decision to release or exempt the documents.

Where section 27 consultation is required, section 18(4) of the Act provides for a 30 day extension to the original statutory 30 day time limit to respond to your request. I shall forward to you my decision on whether the documents can be released after I receive the third party’s submissions, noting that a decision on access is required by 22 May 2017.

I am not satisfied by this response which appears to be a delaying tactic aimed at depriving me, as a citizen of the Territory, of the right bestowed by the Act for prompt access to information in possession of Ministers and agencies in documentary form.

First, it should not take the full 30 days allowed under the Act to identify “references regarding third parties” in the report. It should be reasonable to expect any “third party” issues, whatever they may be, to have been immediately obvious to the Taskforce enabling any consultation with the third parties to start well before the 30 day FOI response time has elapsed. In my opinion whilst the 30 day timeframe is allowable under the Act its application in the current circumstances is not in the spirit / intention of FOI

Second, it is hard to understand what “references regarding third parties” would be in a Government Taskforce report into potential Government housing on Government land and why such references should delay, or even override, the rights of people significantly impacted by the proposal.

Third, it should be reasonable and practicable to release the report promptly with any contentious “third party” references redacted whilst the Government consults with those “third parties”.

The reason I am particularly concerned is that the Government’s timetable for the public housing development allows only minimal time for community consultation and involvement. The Taskforce’s website states “The Taskforce plans to lodge a DA with the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) in April 2017 for the construction of up to 30 dwellings. Preliminary studies indicate the site is suitable for development and additional geotechnical studies will be completed before the DA is lodged.

If the DA is approved, construction is likely to start in the second half of 2017.”

Therefore assuming the Taskforce even releases its report by their new FOI access date of the 22 May, it appears likely this will be after the consultation period and after the Government has lodged their development approval.

The Taskforce’s Report is obviously critical for the community to understand the reasoning behind the important decisions being made and to enable meaningful consultation with the Government on possible options or variations to the currently proposed development.

In conclusion, I would appreciate you releasing the Taskforce’s report, even if necessary with small parts temporarily redacted, to enable the Holder community to be actively involved in the proposal within the very short timeframe allowed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

Geoff Clarke

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From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce


Attachment Response to Mr Clarke Internal review request.pdf
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Dear Mr Clarke

Please find attached a letter from Mr David Collett in response to your emails of 25 April 2017.

Regards

Corinne Thompson | Project Officer | Governance
Corporate Management | Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate | ACT Government

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From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce


Attachment Decision.pdf
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Attachment Schedule.pdf
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Attachment Document Pack 1 Folios 1 9.pdf
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Dear Mr Clarke

Please find attached a decision letter and associated attachments from Mr David Collett, Executive Director of the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce, in response to your FOI request.

Please note that due to the size of the documents I will send them over two emails.

Regards

Corinne Thompson | Project Officer | Governance | Corporate Management
Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate | ACT Government

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From: CMTEDD FOI
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce


Attachment Document Pack 2 Folios 24 42.pdf
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Dear Mr Clarke

Second and final document pack attached.

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce only: