Travel Expenses by ARPANSA CEO

Sun Shine made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

The request was successful.

From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency,

I am seeking access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act} to information regarding travel expenses by the CEO of Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). I request copies of documents, or summaries of reports, that show how much was spent on each trip by the ARPANSA CEO for the past three financial years [FY15/16 to the most recent FY]. The scope of this request includes international and domestic travel. Each trip should include the relevant costs incurred, such as transportation, accommodation, and all related miscellaneous expenses.

Yours faithfully,
Anonymous

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency,

Please note that no personal information is requested. Dates of travel, locations, etc. are not requested. To simplify matters, expenses may be approximated or rounded to the nearest dollar. It's my understanding that the agency's business IT tools can provide the requested information quickly.

An agency has a statutory obligation to acknowledge that an FOI request has been received as soon as practicable, and no later than 14 days after receiving a request (s15(5)(a)).

Yours faithfully,
Anonymous

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From: $ARPANSA FOI
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

Dear Anonymous

Thank you for your email below. I acknowledge receipt your initial request under the Freedom of Information Act dated 14 September 2018 (14 September Request).

ARPANSA has been in the process of scoping your 14 September Request to determine whether any charges would be applicable.

Since the information is stored in various different databases, the process of extracting the requested information into a spreadsheet for the last three years broken down by individual trip as follows:

1. Domestic or International

2. Nature of expenses such as transport, accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses.

has been a time consuming process. To date approximately 12 hours work has gone into extracting the information requested. A further review of the travel expenses is also required to determine which trips have been externally funded.

I note in your email below you have refined the scope to remove dates and locations.

In order for me to properly scope the request and determine whether charges will be apply, please let me know if you are happy with a lump sum for each year for domestic travel (including flights and associated expenses) and International travel (including flights and associated expenses)?

Kind regards

Gemma Larkins
Legal Officer
Office of the General Counsel

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear $ARPANSA FOI,

Thank you, Gemma. This request is not intended to be onerous or time-consuming. Please keep it simple.

Yes, it's acceptable to provide a total sum for domestic travel (including number of domestic trips) and a lump sum for International travel (including number of overseas trips) for each year. The total cost of domestic travel, for example, would include the CEO's business airfare, overnight accommodation, taxis and rental cars, per diem allowance, etc.

For each of the three years, this information will provide a lump sum for international trips and another lump sum for domestic trips. It will allow me to calculate an average cost per domestic trip and an average cost per international trip.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous

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From: $ARPANSA FOI
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

Dear Anonymous

Thanks for your email clarifying the scope of your request.

Your freedom of information request was received on 14 September 2018. 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 15 October 2018.

Kind regards

Gemma Larkins
Legal Officer
Office of the General Counsel

Important: This message may contain confidential information or legally privileged information. If you think it was sent to you by mistake, please delete all copies and advise the sender. For the purposes of the SPAM Act 2003, this email is authorised by ARPANSA.

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From: $ARPANSA FOI
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency


Attachment Travel Expenses.pdf
15K Download View as HTML


Dear Anonymous

I refer to your email dated 27 September 2018 refining your request for information as follows:

For each of the three years, "a total sum for domestic travel (including number of domestic trips) and a lump sum for International travel (including number of overseas trips) for each year. The total cost of domestic travel, for example, would include the CEO's business airfare, overnight accommodation, taxis and rental cars, per diem allowance, etc. "

Since meeting your request involved the creation of a new document that did not exist at the time of your request and the information requested was not contained in an existing document or a report that can ordinarily be produced from information in a database, I am releasing the attached information under administrative access. Unless I hear from you otherwise I will treat your Freedom of Information request dated 14 September 2018 as withdrawn.

Kind regards

Gemma Larkins
Legal Officer
Office of the General Counsel

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
619 Lower Plenty Road, Yallambie VIC 3085 AUSTRALIA

Phone +61 2 9541 8311
[mobile number]
email [email address]
www.arpansa.gov.au

Important: This message may contain confidential information or legally privileged information. If you think it was sent to you by mistake, please delete all copies and advise the sender. For the purposes of the SPAM Act 2003, this email is authorised by ARPANSA.

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From: Sun Shine

Delivered

Dear $ARPANSA FOI,

Thank you for the requested information.

The CEO averages 40 business trips per year, which means he is "in transit" approximately one workday out of three. This is an estimated 250 hours of travel time each year. On average, his travel costs exceed $100,000 annually. ARPANSA may wish to consult the all-of-government advice "Cost Reduction Strategies and Better Booking Practices".

I acknowledge that the ARPANSA quarterly reports provide some information regarding travel. However seldom are travel costs or specific benefits identified. For example, ARPANSA’s CEO participated in a week-long meeting in Lima, Peru in May 2017. The quarterly report provided general information about the meeting, but stated nothing about how Australia benefited from the CEO's attendance. The report stated that travel was funded by ARPANSA but did not quantify costs.

ARPANSA should promote administrative access and a healthy Information Publication Scheme [IPS]. The ARPANSA IPS Plan is dated 2011, is very general and contains outdated points-of-contact. An updated IPS would transform the FoI framework from one that reacts to individual requests to one that relies on voluntary publication of information. Because CEO travel is such a significant expense, I request it be incorporated into the IPS and made available to the public routinely. This would obviate the need for FoI requests for this information in the future.

The FOI Guidelines state that in instances when an agency is minded to release under administrative access, the agency will "seek the requester’s consent, and withdrawal of the FOI request, before releasing the documents administratively." In this case, ARPANSA did not request my consent before release.

Thank you again. Open government and transparency allow the public to participate more fully in our democracy.

I request this information be included in the ARPANSA FoI disclosure log. I consider this request completed and closed.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous

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