Remuneration of key management personnel

Name withheld made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The request was refused by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

I refer to the Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule (the Review) conducted by Elizabeth Alexander AM and David Thodey AO. Specifically, the findings and recommendations contained in the final report (available at: https://www.finance.gov.au/pgpa-independ... at page 48 onwards as follows:

“The Parliament and citizens have a strong interest in the proper use and management of public resources, from which Commonwealth executive remuneration is funded. There are high expectations around the timely and adequate disclosure of executive remuneration by Australian Securities Exchange listed companies. The remuneration reporting requirements for these companies are established by the Corporations Act 2001. Disclosure of executive remuneration should be at least as important in the public sector, where high transparency standards are expected.
[…]
In May 2017, the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson, wrote to portfolio secretaries, asking them and their portfolio entities to publish information on executive remuneration on their websites on a voluntary basis and in a manner consistent with reporting arrangements prior to the 2015 Financial Reporting Rule. Only half of the entities covered by this request did so within the requested deadline, leading to a joint request in September 2017 from the secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance (Finance). A further joint request was made in August 2018. A number of entities have still not complied with these requests.
[…]
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit has made clear that disclosure of senior executive remuneration should be a formal requirement that is reflected in legislation, not optional by request.
[…]
There is no reason to report Commonwealth executive remuneration arrangements in multiple formats and locations. This hardly helps transparency and accountability. We believe that the remuneration of key management personnel in all entities should be disclosed in entity annual reports to at least the same level of transparency that applies to Australian Securities Exchange listed companies. This would require disclosure of the remuneration, including allowances and bonuses, of accountable authorities and their key management personnel, individually, on an accrual basis.

RECOMMENDATION 35
Accountable authorities should disclose executive remuneration in annual reports on the following basis....
(a) the individual remuneration (including allowances and bonuses) of accountable authorities and their key management personnel on an accrual basis, in line with the disclosure by Australian Securities Exchange listed companies”

The strong public interest in the precise quantum of public monies used to fund senior executive public servant salaries (as referenced by the Review above) is highlighted by articles such as this: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politic... which makes for particularly nauseating reading for non-SES departmental employees such as myself because it indicates that after successfully locking in massive reductions in the living standards of non-SES DPMC employees (ie. the ones who actually do the work), DPMC’s SES celebrated by clinking their champagne glasses together at the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge and then awarding themselves 12% annual pay increases, thereby happily giving effect to the IPA’s/LNP’s policies of redistributing wealth away from everyone but the wealthy, to the wealthy, and manifesting DPMC’s SES’ personal commitment to trickle down economics.

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated remuneration of DPMC’s key management personnel for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24 Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s key management personnel with all information redacted with the exception of the relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the gross payment amount.

Thank you.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your email, received by the Department of the Prime Minister
and Cabinet (the Department).

 

We write to advise you that your request in its current form is not valid
for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) and
to seek clarification of the terms of your request, and to draw your
attention to publicly-available information regarding the remuneration of
the Department’s executives.

 

Publicly-available information regarding remuneration of the Department’s
executives

Average annual reportable remuneration paid to substantive executives in
the Department for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 reporting periods can be found
here:
[1]https://www.pmc.gov.au/who-we-are/accoun....

 

Base salary information for officers at the Senior Executive Service level
in the Department can be found in the Department’s Annual Reports as
follows:

·         Annual Report, 2017-18, at p 23:
[2]https://annualreport.pmc.gov.au/sites/de...

·         Annual Report, 2016-18, at p 64:
[3]https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil...

·         Annual Report, 2015-16, at p 60:
[4]https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/fil....

 

The Secretary’s remuneration is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal
and can be found here:
[5]https://www.remtribunal.gov.au/offices/s....

 

Clarification of the terms of your FOI request

One of the requirements for a valid FOI request is that the request
provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably
necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency to identify the
document (section 15(2)(b) of the FOI Act). As explained below, in our
view the terms of your request do not meet the requirement in section
15(2)(b) of the FOI Act.

 

We note that you seek access to ‘the names and associated remuneration of
DPMC’s key management personnel for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
financial years’. It is not clear to us what you mean by ‘DPMC’s key
management personnel’. By ‘DPMC’s key management personnel’ do you mean
officers at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level in the Department of
the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department)? If not, please provide
more information.

 

If and when your request becomes valid, we will assess the work required
to process your FOI request and may either notify you of the estimated
charge for processing your request, or consult you about narrowing your
request if it appears that processing would be a substantial and
unreasonable diversion of our resources from our other operations.

 

As your request is not valid at this time, the statutory 30-day processing
period under the FOI Act has not commenced.

 

Please note that we will take no further action on your email until we
hear from you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [6][DPMC request email] | w. [7]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[8]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[10]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [11]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[12]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

Please note that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be
closed during its annual shutdown period from close of business 24
December 2018 through to 1 January 2019 (inclusive)—the Department will
re-open for normal business from 2 January 2019.

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Thank you for your response.

Elizabeth Alexander AM and David Thodey AO clearly intend that key management personnel includes the Department's SES Band 3 officers.

I refer to the Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule (the Review) conducted by Elizabeth Alexander AM and David Thodey AO. Specifically, the findings and recommendations contained in the final report (available at: https://www.finance.gov.au/pgpa-independ... at page 48 onwards as follows:

“The Parliament and citizens have a strong interest in the proper use and management of public resources, from which Commonwealth executive remuneration is funded. There are high expectations around the timely and adequate disclosure of executive remuneration by Australian Securities Exchange listed companies. The remuneration reporting requirements for these companies are established by the Corporations Act 2001. Disclosure of executive remuneration should be at least as important in the public sector, where high transparency standards are expected.
[…]
In May 2017, the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson, wrote to portfolio secretaries, asking them and their portfolio entities to publish information on executive remuneration on their websites on a voluntary basis and in a manner consistent with reporting arrangements prior to the 2015 Financial Reporting Rule. Only half of the entities covered by this request did so within the requested deadline, leading to a joint request in September 2017 from the secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance (Finance). A further joint request was made in August 2018. A number of entities have still not complied with these requests.
[…]
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit has made clear that disclosure of senior executive remuneration should be a formal requirement that is reflected in legislation, not optional by request.
[…]
There is no reason to report Commonwealth executive remuneration arrangements in multiple formats and locations. This hardly helps transparency and accountability. We believe that the remuneration of key management personnel in all entities should be disclosed in entity annual reports to at least the same level of transparency that applies to Australian Securities Exchange listed companies. This would require disclosure of the remuneration, including allowances and bonuses, of accountable authorities and their key management personnel, individually, on an accrual basis.

RECOMMENDATION 35
Accountable authorities should disclose executive remuneration in annual reports on the following basis....
(a) the individual remuneration (including allowances and bonuses) of accountable authorities and their key management personnel on an accrual basis, in line with the disclosure by Australian Securities Exchange listed companies”

The strong public interest in the precise quantum of public monies used to fund senior executive public servant salaries (as referenced by the Review above) is highlighted by articles such as this: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politic... which makes for particularly nauseating reading for non-SES departmental employees such as myself because it indicates that after successfully locking in massive reductions in the living standards of non-SES DPMC employees (ie. the ones who actually do the work), DPMC’s SES celebrated by clinking their champagne glasses together at the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge and then awarding themselves 12% annual pay increases, thereby happily giving effect to the IPA’s/LNP’s policies of redistributing wealth away from everyone but the wealthy, to the wealthy, and manifesting DPMC’s SES’ personal commitment to trickle down economics.

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated remuneration of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24 Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers with all information redacted with the exception of the relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the gross payment amount.

Yours sincerely,

Name withheld

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Thank you for your email. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
(the Department) is currently on its annual shutdown which extends from
close of business, Monday, 24 December 2018 to Tuesday, 1 January 2019
(inclusive) - the Department will re-open for normal business from
Wednesday, 2 January 2019.' 

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2018/201

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your email of 29 December 2018. The revision to the terms of
your request has provided sufficient information to enable identification
of the document(s) sought, satisfying the requirement in section 15(2)(b)
of the FOI Act. Your FOI request is therefore valid under section 15 of
the FOI Act.

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your valid FOI request on 29 December 2018 and the 30 day
statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after
that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 28 January
2018. The period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We
will advise you if there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information.  Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner at
[4]http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_....

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [5][DPMC request email] | w. [6]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[7]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[8]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[9]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [10]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[11]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

show quoted sections

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Further to our earlier email of 7 January 2019, in relation to the
timeframe for receiving a decision on your request, you should expect a
decision from us by 28 January 2019 (not 28 January 2018 as stated in the
earlier email). We apologise for the error.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [6]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[7]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

From: FOI
Sent: Monday, 7 January 2019 4:23 PM
To: 'Name withheld' <[FOI #5159 email]>
Cc: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Remuneration of key
management personnel (PM&C ref: FOI/2018/201) [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2018/201

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your email of 29 December 2018. The revision to the terms of
your request has provided sufficient information to enable identification
of the document(s) sought, satisfying the requirement in section 15(2)(b)
of the FOI Act. Your FOI request is therefore valid under section 15 of
the FOI Act.

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your valid FOI request on 29 December 2018 and the 30 day
statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after
that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 28 January
2018. The period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We
will advise you if there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[8]http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [9][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [10][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information.  Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner at
[11]http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_....

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [12][DPMC request email] | w. [13]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[14]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[15]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[16]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [17]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[18]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

show quoted sections

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I refer to your request to the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet (the Department) for access to documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found
there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be
publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated
remuneration of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and
2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24
Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the
FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by
DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s SES
Band 3 officers with all information redacted with the exception of the
relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the
gross payment amount.

 

As your request covers documents which contain other individuals’ personal
information, the Department is required to consult with those individuals
(under section 27A of the FOI Act) before making a decision on the release
of those documents.

 

For this reason the period for processing your request has been extended
by 30 days in order to allow our agency time to consult with those
individuals (section 15(6) of the FOI Act). The processing period for your
request will now end on 27 February 2019.

 

The consultation mechanism under section 27A applies when we believe an
individual (or their representative) may wish to contend that the
requested documents are exempt for reasons of personal privacy.

 

We will take into account any comments we receive from the individuals but
the final decision about whether to grant you access to the documents you
requested rests with the Department.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [6]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[7]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. http://www.pmc.gov.au/
3. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...
5. https://twitter.com/indigenous_gov
6. https://www.facebook.com/indigenous.gov....

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I refer to your request to the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet (the Department) for access to documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found
there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be
publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated
remuneration of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and
2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24
Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the
FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by
DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s SES
Band 3 officers with all information redacted with the exception of the
relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the
gross payment amount.

 

The due date for a decision on the FOI request is 27 February 2019.

 

Regrettably, the Department is unlikely to be in a position to finalise
the decision on the FOI request by the current due date because not all
third party consultations under section 27A of the FOI Act (consultation
regarding documents affecting personal privacy) have been finalised.

 

Accordingly, we seek your agreement to a 30-day extension of time to the
processing period under section 15AA of the FOI Act.

 

We will endeavour to notify you of the decision prior to the extended date
but have requested this amount of time to finalise outstanding third party
consultations and to finalise the Department’s decision.

 

We kindly request your response to this extension of time request by way
of return email by 26 February 2019, or sooner if possible. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [6]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[7]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. http://www.pmc.gov.au/
3. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...
5. https://twitter.com/indigenous_gov
6. https://www.facebook.com/indigenous.gov....

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

Noting that
- my request involves access to documents that two eminent Australians have advised, at the request of the Government, that there is a strong public interest in;
- DPMC has tacitly supported that conclusion;
- it is questionable whether third party consultation is reasonably necessary given that conclusion,
- there are only a handful of persons to consult with (DPMC’s SES 3 staff);
- my request has already been with DPMC for over 8 weeks and DPMC has already been conducting third party consultations for 4 of those 8 weeks; and
- my request could not honestly be described as complex or voluminous
I am unable to agree to the 30 day extension requested. As a compromise, however, I am willing to agree, in good faith, to an extension of the due date until Friday 8 March 2019.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your agreement to an extension of time to Friday 8 March 2019.

Yours sincerely

FOI Adviser
FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch
Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
p. (02) 6271 5849
e. [DPMC request email] | w. www.pmc.gov.au
One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600
 

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Attachment FOI 2018 201 Notice of estimated charges.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I refer to your FOI request to the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet in the following relevant terms:

 

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found
there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be
publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated
remuneration of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and
2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24
Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the
FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by
DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s SES
Band 3 officers with all information redacted with the exception of the
relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the
gross payment amount.

 

Please find attached a notice of estimated charges for your FOI request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [6]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[7]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

 

 

 

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5. https://twitter.com/indigenous_gov
6. https://www.facebook.com/indigenous.gov....

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From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear Ms Campbell

I am responding to your letter of 7 March 2019 advising me that you have decided that I am liable to pay a charge of $149.50 for the processing of my FOI request dated 29 December 2019.

Pursuant to subparagraph 29(1)(f)(ii) of the FOI Act, I contend that charge should not be imposed because the giving of the documents in question is in the general public interest or in the interest of a substantial section of the public and the charge has been wrongly assessed. My reasons follow.

1. The general and wide public interest in the precise remuneration of senior public servants is clearly established by Elizabeth Alexander AM and David Thodey AO in their Independent Review into the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule (the Review) - relevant excerpts of which are set out in my FOI request.

2. The general and wide public interest in the precise remuneration of senior public servants as referred to in the Review has been uniformly reinforced by tribunals with jurisdiction to consider FOI matters. Those tribunals have consistently found that the precise remuneration paid to senior public servants for performing public duties is a matter of wide and countervailing public interest and that the public is entitled to know precisely how much of its money is received in salary and entitlements by senior public servants for performing functions on behalf of the public – see Re Ricketson and Royal Women’s Hospital (1989) 4 VAR 10; Re Forbes and Department of Premier & Cabinet (1993) 6 VAR 53; Re Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227; Re Thwaites and Metropolitan Ambulance Service (unreported, 13 June 1997); Re Milthorpe and Mt. Alexander Shire Council (1997) 12 VAR 105; Re National Tertiary Education Industry Union (Murdoch Branch)and Murdoch University; Ors [2001] WAICmr 1 and Asher and Department of State and Regional Development [2002] VCAT 609.

3. The public interest in the precise quantum of public monies used to fund senior executive public servant salaries (as referenced above) is also highlighted by articles such as these: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politic... and https://www.afr.com/news/policy/industri... which make for particularly demoralising reading for non-SES public servants who, at the hands of this Government and their senior executive leaders, have suffered massive reductions in their standards of living, apparently so that the APS’ SES cohort can lavish upon themselves massive increases in their standards of living (with 12%-14% annual wage increases), thereby happily giving effect to the IPA’s/LNP’s policies of redistributing wealth away from everyone but the wealthy, to the wealthy.

4. The precise quantum of public monies used to fund senior executive public servant salaries is not only of wide interest to all rank and file Commonwealth public servants and their families who have had their standards of living reduced by this Government, but also of wide public interest to the Australian workforce more generally because, as numerous academic texts acknowledge, employment relations (including the regulation of pay and conditions) in the public sector are widely considered to serve as a role model for industrial relations in the private sector (see, for example, Creighton B and Forsyth R [Eds.] Rediscovering Collective Bargaining, 2012 at pp.184-185). That is, the way in which a government treats its staff can be considered emblematic of the way in which a government considers employees across the broader workforce should be treated by their employers. So much is confirmed by economist and director of the Centre for Future Work, Dr Jim Stanford, who said that government wage caps have the consequence of suppressing wage increases across the whole economy, not just for government workers - “the statistical evidence is clear that after the state government imposed that cap wages in the private sector fell quickly to the same level,” he said. “We think what is happening is private sector employers are taking their cue from this government benchmark.”- https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/labo... . The documents the subject of my request will give a clear indication as to this Government’s objectives, ideals and vision in regard to the distribution of wealth amongst Australian society – a matter of clear public interest.

5. Noting my request relates to the Prime Minister’s own Department/staff, I also refer to this recent press conference given by the Prime Minister : https://twitter.com/SkyNewsAust/status/1... – where the Prime Minister said “The Labor Party thinks to make some better off, you’ve got to make some worse off. That’s the Labor Party economic plan – the politics of envy” on the basis that he and the Liberal Party claim that they do the opposite. If the Prime Minister is not lying, the documents the subject of my request will show that the remuneration levels of the DPMC’s SES Band 3 staff have grown, and DPMC’s SES Band 3 standards of living have fallen, at the same rate of DPMC’s rank and file/non-SES staff. If the documents the subject of my request indicate that DPMC’s SES Band 3 salaries/standards of living have increased/improved at a greater rate than that of DPMC’s rank and file staff, then that will demonstrate that the Prime Minister engages in mistruths. Whether the Prime Minister of Australia engages in mistruths is, inarguably, a matter of clear and general public interest, particularly in the lead up to a Federal election.

6. I am also of the view that the charge you have assessed has been calculated incorrectly.

7. I note that you have estimated the decision-making time as 11.35 hours. It has generally been accepted that between 30 seconds per page (See 'FF' and Australian Taxation Office [2015] AICmr 25 [23]) to five minutes per page (See 'EU' and Department of Human Services [2015] AICmr 15 [52]) is a reasonable estimate of the time required for an agency to assess, edit and make decisions on documents. Also, the FOI Guidelines explain that any charges imposed under the FOI Act must be fair, accurate and should not be used to unreasonably hinder an applicant from pursuing an FOI request.

8. I refer you to the decision of the Information Commissioner (IC) in the matter of: 'MZ' and Department of Communications and the Arts (Freedom of information) [2017] AICmr 109 - http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewd...

9. Given that IC decision related to my request made of the Department of Communications in respect of the same documents the subject of my current request with DPMC, that decision is authoritative for current purposes. That being so, I refer you to the following paragraphs of the IC’s decision in that IC review matter (bearing in mind, however, that my request of the Department of Communications concerned the payment summaries of some 33 SES officers over three financial years whereas my current request of DPMC only involves the payment summaries of less than 9 SES Band 3 DPMC officers over three financial years).

10. The IC, at paragraphs [24], [33] and [34] of his decision states:

"[24] In this case, I accept that 2 hours is a reasonable estimate of the time it would take a suitably experienced departmental officer to search pay records and collate each of the payment summaries. I also accept as reasonable, the Department’s estimates of 4 hours to prepare its decision on the request and 1 hour to apply exemptions and to finalise the edited payment summaries for release. In this regard, in previous IC review decisions I have generally accepted an estimate between 30 seconds per page and 5 minutes per page as a reasonable estimate of the time required to assess and apply the relevant exemptions to the documents.

[33] In this IC review, I consider that marking up and editing irrelevant material should not take much more than 1 minute per payment summary. Given that the Department has identified 33 relevant officers and there appears to be a maximum of three payment summaries per officer, I am satisfied that an estimate of 99 minutes, or a little over an hour and a half would be a reasonable estimate of the time required to complete this task.

[34] For these reasons, I am satisfied that a reasonable estimate of the time it will take the Department to fully process the request is 17.5 hours, and not the 40 hours that the Department found."

11. It follows, therefore, that given my current request with DPMC involves approximately 25% of the number of payment summary documents/relevant persons the subject of the IC’s decision in my IC review matter concerning the Department of Communications, that a reasonable estimate of the time it would take a suitably experienced departmental officer to search pay records and collate each of the payment summaries is less than 30 minutes and not the 90 minutes as assessed by you. I am of the view that you have inflated the search and retrieval time estimate to hinder the processing of my FOI request and to prevent scrutiny of matters that, as set out above, are clearly in the general public interest.

12. It also follows that given my current request with DPMC involves approximately 25% of the number of payment summary documents/relevant persons the subject of my IC review matter that a reasonable estimate of the time to fully process my request is less than 4 hours. Again, I am of the view that you have inflated estimated processing time to hinder the processing of my FOI request and to prevent scrutiny of matters that, as set out above, are clearly in the general public interest.

13. Lastly, I note that this request is not the first time that I have made such a request of DPMC. I refer you to my FOI requests of DPMC on 6 February 2017 and 24 November 2017, as set out here: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/g... for precisely the same information the subject of my current FOI request with DPMC. I note that DPMC did not impose charges in respect of those FOI applications (because the information contained in the documents at issue is clearly in the general public interest and the amount of work involved in processing those requests was not sufficient to attract charges). I further note that there has been no relevant amendments made to the FOI Act or the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations that would warrant or justify the different approach you have taken in assessing charges in respect of my current FOI request. Accordingly, I am of the view that you have inflated the estimated processing charges of my current FOI request in order to hinder the processing of my FOI request and to prevent scrutiny of matters that, as set out above, are clearly in the general public interest.

Link to this

From: Name withheld

Delivered

Dear FOI,

I'm writing to add to my submissions of 4 April 2019 in relation to this matter by noting that information of the type contained in the documents the subject of my request is now required, by law, to be publicly disclosed - see the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Reporting Executive Remuneration) Rules 2019 - thereby clearly indicating Parliament's view that it is in the general public interest for the precise remuneration of senior executive public servants to be publicly disclosed.

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Attachment FOI 2018 201 Charges decision.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I refer to your FOI request to the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet in the following relevant terms:

 

Under the FOI Act, I seek access to the information that the Review found
there to be a clear public interest in, and that it recommended be
publicly reported. Specifically, I seek access to the names and associated
remuneration of DPMC’s SES Band 3 officers for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and
2017/18 financial years. This information might exist in contracts, s.24
Public Service Act determinations or perhaps a document under s.17 of the
FOI Act. Alternatively, I’m happy for this request to be satisfied by
DPMC’s provision of the Group Certificates/PAYG summaries of DPMC’s SES
Band 3 officers with all information redacted with the exception of the
relevant person’s first name and last name, the period of payment, and the
gross payment amount.

 

Please find attached the decision on your contentions that the charge
should not be imposed and was wrongly assessed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

FOI and Privacy Section | Legal Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. (02) 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email] | w. [2]www.pmc.gov.au

One National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 | PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[4]cid:image002.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00[5]cid:image003.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00 [6]cid:image004.jpg@01D30607.6CF4DA00

[7]Title: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present. -
Description: Reconcilation branding and acknowledgment: The Department
acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia
and their continuing connections to the land, waters and community. We pay
respect to their Cultures, Country and Elders both past and present.

 

 

 

 

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2. http://www.pmc.gov.au/
3. https://twitter.com/pmc_gov_au
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/departm...
5. https://twitter.com/indigenous_gov
6. https://www.facebook.com/indigenous.gov....

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