The dilapidation report on the Bastion Point groyne wall prepared by Magryn and Associates, and the report prepared by other consultants but not prefered by Council.

Currently waiting for a response from East Gippsland Shire Council, they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear East Gippsland Shire Council,
Could I please have a copy of the dilapidation report on the Bastion Point groyne wall prepared by Magryn and Associates, as well as a copy of the report on the wall commissioned from other consultants but not preferred by you? If there were more than the two reports received, I'd appreciate a copy of all of them.

Yours faithfully,
Patsy Lisle

Feedback Address For Web Page, East Gippsland Shire Council

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If your enquiry is urgent, please call us on 03 51 539 500, our call
service is available after-hours and public holidays as well as business
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respond to you as soon as possible. 

Thank you for contacting Council.

Freedom of Information, East Gippsland Shire Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon Ms Lisle,

Please find the attached correspondence in relation to your request made
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Kind regards,

Ela Alexander  <  Freedom of Information Officer  < [2]East
Gippsland Shire Council
<P: 03 5153 9500 <F: 03 5153 9576 < PO Box 1618, Bairnsdale, Vic
[1][IMG] 3875
<[3]Have Your Say:  Find information about our projects and
strategies, and give feedback as part of our consultation
process.
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

 
East Gippsland Shire Council acknowledges the Gunaikurnai, Monero and the
Bidawel people as the Traditional Custodians of the land that encompasses
East Gippsland Shire.
We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
living in East Gippsland, their Elders past and present.

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/
2. http://www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/
3. https://yoursay.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/

Dear Freedom of Information,
Thank you to the FOI officer at EGSC for your reply.
As per your instructions, I will pay the application fee required for an FOI request to be valid. You have also included this request for clarification:

"From the information provided, we have assumed that you intend to seek to access to:- “All dilapidation reports on the Bastion Point Groyne Wall held by the Council during 2022/2023”. Could you please confirm in writing that my assumption is correct?"

To clarify:
I'm seeking the dilapidation report Council has publicly acknowledged receipt of, generated by Magryn and Associates in 2023. In addition, I'm seeking information provided to Council by at least one other consultancy on the problems with the Bastion Point groyne wall. I believe there was at least one other consultancy engaged because a consultant who worked on it has mentioned the fact and that their findings were not what Council wanted. Whether those findings had been finalised before rejection by Council as a dilapidation report or whether it was in some sort of preliminary document, I have no idea. I also don't know the time frame of your investigations, so I can't say for sure if the other consultancy was engaged and finished with by 2022.

I'm sorry this is so vague, but that's the problem when there is so little transparency.

I also don't know if Council engaged more than two consultancies before getting the kind of response they were after. If Council has been provided with documents by any other consultancies engaged to try to deal with this $6million disaster, which outline their expert views of what is wrong with the break wall and what should be done, then I'd like a copy. Clearly, only someone with inside knowledge of Council's operations could correctly provide dates or names of the documents.

Yours sincerely,

Patsy Lisle

Dear Freedom of Information,
Further to my first reply to the EGSC FOI officer, I thought the following might help to make what I'm after clear. As I said previously, it's not possible for me to provide the correct names and dates of documents, when Council has not been transparent about the information they have sought and hold.

I want to have a copy of the dilapidation report referred to by Council. But I'd also like to see copies of any other documents containing advice to Council on the problems related to the Bastion Point facility from engineering consultants or other coastal infrastructure experts. (However, I don't mean you to include what might be extensive documentation on all the ongoing problems Council encounters with the dredge(s).) I'd also like to see all advice about what Council could or couldn't do to manage the problems. That would include any documents from Magryn and Associates containing advice not contained in the dilapidation report.

I hope that makes it clearer. You see, the vast majority of residents opposed the building of the facility because expert opinion made it clear it was not fit for purpose. Ocean access is essential to the township, but Council is not letting us know the full story about this dangerous and inappropriate structure that a previous Council saddled us with, despite all advice to the contrary. It's important to have access to all the information about the very expensive path Council has now chosen to follow, as well as possible alternatives.

Yours sincerely,

Patsy Lisle

Freedom of Information, East Gippsland Shire Council

Good afternoon Patsy

Thank you for your emails dated 13 May 2024 and 17 May 2024 which sought
to clarify your Request to East Gippsland Shire Council (“Council”) for
access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (“FOI
Act”).

In your email of 13 May 2024, you provided the following information:

“To clarify:

I’m seeking the dilapidation report Council has publicly acknowledged
receipt of, generated by Magryn and Associates in 2023.  In addition, I'm
seeking information provided to Council by at least one other consultancy
on the problems with the Bastion Point groyne wall ... If Council has been
provided with documents by any other consultancies engaged to try to deal
with this $6million disaster, which outline their expert views of what is
wrong with the break wall and what should be done, then I'd like a copy. 
Clearly, only someone with inside knowledge of Council's operations could
correctly provide dates or names of the documents.”

“I believe there was at least one other consultancy engaged because a
consultant who worked on it has mentioned the fact and that their findings
were not what Council wanted.  Whether those findings had been finalised
before rejection by Council as a dilapidation report or whether it was in
some sort of preliminary document, I have no idea.  I also don't know the
time frame of your investigations, so I can't say for sure if the other
consultancy was engaged and finished with by 2022.

I’m sorry this is so vague, but that’s the problem when there is so little
transparency.”

Your email of 17 May 2024 provided further clarification of the documents
you seek, as follows:

“I want to have a copy of the dilapidation report referred to by Council. 
But I'd also like to see copies of any other documents containing advice
to Council on the problems related to the Bastion Point facility from
engineering consultants or other coastal infrastructure experts. 
(However, I don't mean you to include what might be extensive
documentation on all the ongoing problems Council encounters with the
dredge(s).)  I'd also like to see all advice about what Council could or
couldn't do to manage the problems.  That would include any documents from
Magryn and Associates containing advice not contained in the dilapidation
report.”

“As I said previously, it’s not possible for me to provide the correct
names and dates of documents, when Council has not been transparent about
the information they have sought and hold.”

Validity requirements under the FOI Act

In my letter of 13 May 2024, I set out the rights and procedural steps in
sections 13 and 17 of the Act that must be satisfied before a valid
request for access to documents exists.

Unfortunately, your Request remains to be ambiguous, unclear or otherwise
ill defined, meaning it still does not comply with the FOI Act so that it
need not be processed. Based upon the information provided, officers of
the agency would be left guessing what documents are actually sought.
 Further, a valid request seeks access to documents and not to
information.  A request for information will not be validly made as it
does not identify the documents sought.

In our view, your Request remains to be ambiguous and unclear, and does
not provide sufficient information to enable the Council to identify all
the documents sought within reasonable time and with exercise of
reasonable effort.

Meeting with you to clarify your request

To get a better understanding of the documents that you are seeking, we
would like to arrange and set up a Teams online meeting with the subject
matter expert to discuss this further.  However, we note that you
presently correspond with the Council via righttoknow.org.au and our
correspondence with you is made publicly available on that website (via
[1]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/t...
That means that the details of our meeting (such as the date, time and
link to the meeting) will be publicly accessible.  That creates a risk of
third parties joining our Teams meeting and potentially obtaining any
personal information you disclose to the Council in that meeting.  To
avoid the risk of this occurring, we would like to arrange a meeting with
you via your personal email address.  Could you please provide me with
your best email address by no later than midday Thursday 13 June 2024.
Once you have done so, I will send you further details regarding the Teams
meeting. 

We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in making a valid
FOI request.

Yours sincerely

 

Janelle Skipworth < Acting Manager Governance < [3]East
Gippsland Shire Council
<P: 03 5153 9500 <F: 03 5153 9576 < PO Box 1618, Bairnsdale, Vic
[2][IMG] 3875
<[4]Have Your Say:  Find information about our projects and
strategies, and give feedback as part of our consultation
process.
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

 
East Gippsland Shire Council acknowledges the Gunaikurnai, Monero and the
Bidawel people as the Traditional Custodians of the land that encompasses
East Gippsland Shire.
We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
living in East Gippsland, their Elders past and present.

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/t...
2. http://www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/
3. http://www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/
4. https://yoursay.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/

Dear Freedom of Information,
Hello again
Thank you for your reply. I disagree with you that my request is ambiguous, unclear or otherwise ill defined and that it's asking for information not documents. I believe the following to be very clear criteria for locating the relevant documents, in line with the requirements of the FOI Act to "provide sufficient information as is reasonably necessary to identify the documents requested":

"I’m seeking the dilapidation report Council has publicly acknowledged
receipt of, generated by Magryn and Associates in 2023. In addition, I'm
seeking information provided to Council by at least one other consultancy
on the problems with the Bastion Point groyne wall ... If Council has been
provided with documents by any other consultancies engaged to try to deal
with this $6million disaster, which outline their expert views of what is
wrong with the break wall and what should be done, then I'd like a copy."

It's obvious that the information I am seeking is in documents (as I've made explicit), and, as I explained, it's impossible to refer to those documents by title as Council keeps such things hidden. I referred to my own request as 'vague' not because it's ambiguous or ill defined, but because it's impossible for me to provide the title of documents as you demanded unless Council provides us with the names of them.

I appreciate that you are the FOI officer, and receive your wage from public money so you can assist the public to gain access to the documents they seek. Thank you for that, and perhaps you could succeed in my case by locating all the documents relevant to the criteria provided by my request.

If you feel that you can't be sure you're providing what I want by using that unambiguous criteria, perhaps you could provide a list of all the clearly relevant documents, as well as those you're unsure about, and I could let you know which ones I want copies of. If you think publishing such a list on a public platform is somehow dangerous to Council or others, then please send it to my private email address. As requested, I'm providing you with that before midday Thursday, June 2024. It is [email address]

I'll also send my address to you by email to make sure the address is accessible to you. However, I'd like the rest of this FOI request to be conducted on this public platform. I'd like to give Council every possible encouragement to be more transparent.

Yours sincerely,

Patsy Lisle