On 1 February 2018, as part of the Regional Incubator Facilitator (RIF) tender process, an addendum was published noting that: “If a company that is an incubator or provides incubator services was successful in the tender process, the company would need to ensure that the individual fulfilling the Regional Incubator Facilitator services: did not complete any work for the incubator, for example, but not limited to, delivery of programs and services, promotion of the incubator’s services; is engaged solely to conduct Regional Incubator Faciltiator services; and there is a clear and visible separation between the Regional Incubator Facilitator and the incubator.” [1]

On 29 March 2018, [name removed] omitted his [name removed] incubator facilitator role [2] from statutory disclosure to secure an AusInustry contract as director and shareholder of [name removed] [3] and deliver the Incubator Support Initiative grant program to other incubators/accelerators.

On 8 June 2018, an update was made to the Incubator Support Initiative webpage for Regional Incubator Facilitators (RIF) [4] which misrepresented [name removed] role as past experience: “Most recently [name removed] was the Australian Country Manager for one of the largest start-up accelerators in the world.”

Also on 8 June 2018, an approval process was initiated for “new extracurricular activities as appropriate” as [name removed] is “contracted to deliver (the [name removed]) accelerator” while noting that he “made the team aware during the tender process and it was not considered to be an issue” and that “Programme Management do not consider this to be a conflict”.

On 20 June 2018, Zoe Naden as the Incubator Support Initiative program manager approved the extracurricular activity while the RIF webpage continued to misrepresent [name removed] engagement for [name removed] as past experience.

In June 2020, the RIF webpage was removed.

I REQUEST under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (Department) documents containing:
(1) each RIF webpage [1] update to date including the contents, requests and approvals; and
(2) the advice provided to Department staff during the tender process that [name removed] is working for [name removed].

Please be sure to maintain all names of APS staff with regard to OAIC FOI guidelines 3.54-3.56.

Faithfully,
Ellie

REFERENCES
[1] Page 6 in https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/6...

[2] https://twitter.com/tMinusAus/status/938...

[3] https://www.tenders.gov.au/Cn/Show/98e3f...

[4] Regional Incubator Facilitator webpage https://web.archive.org/web/201903290851...

Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Right to Know removes extraneous (irrelevant) material when it does not comply with our guidelines.

We ask that people making requests include only what is needed so that someone can easily identify what information you are asking for.

Further information on this requirement can be found here:
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/requ...

Ellie left an annotation ()

The content censored by Right to Know in this instance pertained to public interest. It was relevant to the request in its entirety as it made FOI refusal on frivolous grounds more difficult.

The decision made by Ben Fairless here is unsubstantiated and is the latest in a series of censorships imposed by Right To Know on the Australian public.

The Australian Anti-Corruption League will be making a public statement with regard to Right to Know practices in the coming days.

Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

As a volunteer, I believe that I have followed our policies correctly.

However, as communicated to Ellie, I have asked the Directors of OpenAustralia Foundation (the charity that looks after Right to Know) to review this request.

Until that review is completed, annotations will be disabled on this request.

Kat Szuminska left an annotation ()

Hi Ellie

Thank you for contacting the RightToKnow team. Ben asked the directors of the OpenAustralia Foundation, the charity behind RightToKnow, to review the actions that Ben has taken with your Freedom of Information request.

We agree with Ben that the details of the request go against our clearly posted guidelines as follows:

Why must I keep my request focused? (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/requ...)

Please put in your request only what is needed so that someone can easily identify what information you are asking for. Please do not include any of the following:
- arguments about your cause
- statements that could defame or insult others

If you do, we may have to remove your request to avoid problems with libel law, which is a pain for both you and us. Short, succinct messages make it easier for authorities to be clear what information you are requesting, which means you will get a reply more quickly.

We are a small independent charity who's aim is simply to make it easier for anyone to make a successful freedom of information request.

We don't, by default, remove extraneous material. The department did request that we look at this material, and Ben reviewed it and considered that it was extraneous. With hindsight we could have better communicated the reasons for redacting the material. It was not just because it was extraneous. It was mainly because it contained allegations which are potentially defamatory.

Even though we ask that people keep requests focused, and clearly our guidelines show that we may remove your request completely, we didn't do that.

Now that you have expressed your concerns, we've taken another look. We now have taken the lightest approach to redaction that we can apply in this case.

We have redacted only information that could identify the person that in our opinion you are potentially defaming. Also, making specific allegations against this person in the FOI request is not necessary to obtain the information you are looking for, even if that is important to your reason for making the FOI request.

We want to support everyone in their efforts to seek information from government, and we can understand you feel strongly about this.

However, RightToKnow is not a platform to run a campaign on nor is it a platform from which to make allegations of wrongdoing against individuals. We strongly encourage you to take that activity elsewhere and focus future requests on just the specific information or documents you are looking for and avoid bringing in extraneous and potentially defamatory allegations.

You may not be satisfied with this response, but we feel it is the fairest resolution that balances the desire for as much transparency as possible with an encouragement of positive community behaviour.

Please consider how you can make requests in the future, to better assist your investigation, without potentially defaming individuals.

Katherine Szuminska
Director/Founder
On behalf of the OpenAustralia Foundation directors

Freedom of Information, Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Freedom of Information request Regional Incubator Facilitator webpage.txt

    3K Download View as HTML

Dear Ellie

 

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (the department)
has received your Freedom of Information request of 1 December 2020
(attached).

 

This correspondence is to acknowledge receipt of your request. Currently a
decision is due to you by 31 December 2020. However, this timeline may be
effected by the requirement to undertake consultation with affected third
parties or if the department determines you are liable to pay a charge in
relation to your request. You will be notified by the department if
charges are liable or if third party consultation is required.

 

Request for extension of time

 

Please note that the department shuts down from 25 December 2020 to 4
January 2021.

 

To assist in the processing your request, we seek your agreement to a 10
day extension under section 15AA of the FOI Act. If you agree to this
extension, the department will notify the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner of the extension of time, and the decision on
your request would then be due to you on or before 11 January 2020.

 

Could you please confirm your agreement to this extension at your earliest
convenience but no later than 17 December 2020.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the FOI team.

 

Regards

 

FOI Team

Legal, Audit and Assurance | Corporate & Digital

GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

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Freedom of Information, Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources

1 Attachment

Dear Ellie

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your Freedom of
Information request received on 1 December 2020.

 

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter, please contact the
FOI team.

 

Regards

 

FOI Team

Legal, Audit and Assurance Branch | Corporate Division

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments.

 

 

OFFICIAL

Dear Freedom of Information,

As per your advice:

I REQUEST under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (Department) documents containing:
(1) the first RIF webpage [1] version published that states "Most recently Daniel was the Australian Country Manager for one of the largest start-up accelerators in the world" and any webpage content approvals/suggestions by Zoe Naden and [Name Hidden]; and
(2) correspondence and/or documentation from [Name Hidden] made available to Zoe Naden during the tender process disclosing Daniel's engagement with MassChallenge as noted in [2]; and
(3) correspondence and/or documentation from [Name Hidden] made available to any other Department staff member during the tender process disclosing Daniel's engagement with MassChallenge as noted in [2].

This should reduce the scope to a few documents.

Please note:
If there exists a webpage version that was published prior to the first version under (1) that did not comprise the same quote, then please also include that version of the webpage.

Please release documents for these requests in three respective bundles (1-3) and refer to [2] for matters relating to the public interest (the excerpts should speak for themselves).

I consent to the redaction of names in this request by Right to Know.

Faithfully,
Ellie

REFERENCES
[1] https://web.archive.org/web/201903290851...

[2] Page 12 in https://www.docdroid.net/4jTTpwX/foi-exc...

Freedom of Information, Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources

1 Attachment

Dear Ellie

 

I refer to your correspondence of 23 December 2020 (attached).

 

Your revised scope has been forwarded to the line area for consideration.
I anticipate I will have more information for you by the end of this week.

 

Please be advised the FOI team is currently experiencing a high volume of
requests and is presently operating with limited resources. Your patience
during this time is appreciated.

 

In accordance with section 24AB(5) of the FOI Act, with your agreement the
consultation period is extended until such time that both parties have
reach an agreement on the revised scope.

 

Regards

 

FOI Team

Legal, Audit and Assurance | Corporate & Digital

GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

Respectfully, I don't agree to an extension as per s 24AB(5) of FOI Act.

However, I'm willing to consider an extension if the line area can nominate and commit to a date on which it will release the documents that are subject to my request.

Faithfully,
Ellie

Will the Department release the documents as requested?

A highly suspect delay, given the subject matter and the simplicity of the request, it must be said.

Faithfully,
Ellie

Avanithah Selvarajah,

5 Attachments

Our reference: RQ21/00216

Agency reference: LEX 67636

Ellie

Sent by email: [1][FOI #6939 email]

Extension of time application by the Department of Industry, Science,
Energy and Resources

Dear Ellie

 

I write to advise that on 25 January 2021 the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner (the OAIC) received an application from the
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (the Department)
for an extension of time, to process your FOI request.

 

The Department has applied for an extension of time under s 15AC of the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) because it has been unable to
finalise your request within the initial decision period.

 

The Department has advised the OAIC that:

 

o Delays have been encountered in processing your FOI request as the
Department has received multiple FOI requests relating to the same
subject matter. Due to the large volume of these requests, the
Department advises it has faced unavoidable delays in processing this
request.

 

o The Department was impacted by limited staff availability over the
Christmas/New Year shutdown period.

 

o The Department have advised significant progress has been made and it
is confident a decision is made within the requested extension.

 

The Department has requested an extension to 24 February 2021. I will
take any comments you may have to make into account when deciding the
application.

 

Please respond to this email by close of business 29 January 2021. If I do
not hear from you by this date, the decision maker will make a decision on
the basis of the information provided to me by the Department.

 

You will be notified of the decision once the matter has been finalised.

 

Further information about extension of time requests may be found on our
website at [2]Extensions of time.

Contact

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact me on 02 9284
9625 or via email [3][email address]. In all
correspondence please include OAIC reference number at the top of this
letter.

Kind regards

 

[4][IMG]   Avanithah Selvarajah  |  Review and
Investigations Adviser (Legal)
(A/g)

Freedom of information

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [5]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9625 | 
[6][email address]
[10]Subscribe [11]Subscribe to
[7]Facebook | [8]LinkedIn | [9]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #6939 email]
2. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
5. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
6. mailto:[email address]
7. http://www.facebook.com/OAICgov
8. https://www.linkedin.com/company/office-...
9. https://twitter.com/OAICgov
11. https://www.oaic.gov.au/media-and-speech...

Avanithah Selvarajah,

6 Attachments

Our reference: RQ21/00216

Agency reference: LEX 67636

Ms Ellie Abrat

Sent by email: [1][FOI #6939 email]

Extension of time under s 15AC

Dear Ms Abrat

 

Please find attached a decision of today’s date.

 

Kind regards,

 

[2][IMG]   Avanithah Selvarajah  |  Review and
Investigations Adviser (Legal)
(A/g)

Freedom of information

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [3]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9284 9625 | 
[4][email address]
[9]Subscribe to
[5]Facebook | [6]LinkedIn | [7]Twitter |   [8]Subscribe icon Information
Matters

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #6939 email]
2. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.facebook.com/OAICgov
6. https://www.linkedin.com/company/office-...
7. https://twitter.com/OAICgov
9. https://www.oaic.gov.au/media-and-speech...

Freedom of Information, Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources

2 Attachments

Dear Ellie

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your FOI request of 1
December 2020.

 

Should you have any queries regarding this matter, please contact the FOI
team.

 

Regards

 

FOI Team

Legal, Audit and Assurance | Corporate & Digital

GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

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