Key published decisions applying Section 40(b) FOI Act

Gresham and Queensland Principal Club (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 13 August 2001)

The applicant sought access to internal memoranda of the Queensland Principal Club (QPC) that arose out of an investigation by the QPC's Finance Director into the applicant's complaint concerning financial expenses incurred by committee members of the Gold Coast Turf Club (GCTC). Specifically, the relevant matter comprised of two memoranda from the Finance Director to the CEO of the QPC. The QPC refused access to the relevant matter and relied on a number of FOI provisions including section 40(b).

Is there an identifiable 'test, examination or audit' conducted by the agency?

The Information Commissioner was satisfied that the investigation into the applicant's complaint, carried out by QPC, was not a 'test, examination or audit'. While there were provisions in the Racing and Betting Act 1980 (Qld) for the QPS to examine financial statements and for the Auditor-General to conduct an examination of the club's books, the Information Commissioner found that the examination undertaken by the QPC did not amount to an audit. [35]

Is there a reasonable expectation that disclosing the matter could prejudice the attainment of the objects of the test, examination or audit?

Even if QPC's investigation amounted to an audit, the Information Commissioner found there could be no reasonable expectation that the attainment of the objects of the test, examination or audit would be prejudiced by disclosing the memoranda. [36]

Would disclosure, on balance, be in the public interest?

Further, the Information Commissioner found that there were strong public interest considerations favouring the disclosure of the relevant matter. Specifically, disclosure would enhance the accountability of the QPC and the Auditor-General (whose officers assisted in the investigation) in conducting investigations and performing statutory functions. [31-32]

Accordingly, the relevant matter was not exempt under section 40(b) of the FOI Act.

Last updated: March 5, 2012