Ministerial applications when there is a change of Minister
With the upcoming Queensland election, we wanted to remind departments that manage Ministerial RTI and IP applications that if there is a change of Minister—which can happen post-election regardless of whether there is a change of government—current Ministerial applications cease.
Ministers hold a personal commission from the Governor to act as that Minister. When their Commission ceases, applications that were made to the Minister also cease, along with any directions given by the former Minister authorising decisions to be made under the RTI or IP Act. Those directions will no longer be valid and it will not be possible to make a decision on those applications. They will simply come to an end.
It will be up to each department to decide how to manage these applications. Practically, if the documents are in the physical possession of the department, one approach may be for the applicant to withdraw the application and reapply to the department. For applications where the department has not yet retrieved the documents of the former Minister, how the application is handled will depend on a number of circumstances, including whether there is a change of government.
If the applicant does not agree to withdraw and reapply—or if this is not possible in the circumstances—they will need to be advised that there is no power to make a decision under the relevant Act and that their application has come to an end. The RTI Act does not provide for a refund of the application fee in these circumstances.
If you need more information please contact the Enquiries Service on 07 3234 7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.