Application of section 18 RTI Act/section 22 IP Act

Relevant considerations

1. What is the ordinary 'processing period'?

The 'processing period' is a period of 25 business days from the day the application is received. Schedule 1 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) (AIA) defines business day as:

a day that is not a Saturday or Sunday, or a public holiday, special holiday or bank holiday in the place in which any relevant act is to be or may be done.

Section 38(1) of the AIA explains the process for calculating periods of time. The effect of that section is that the day an application is received is counted as 'day zero' and the processing period ends on or before the 25th business day from 'day zero'.

2. What factors stop time running?

a) If the application is transferred (transfer period)

The 'transfer period' applies when an application is transferred to another agency under section 38 of the RTI Act or section 57 of the IP Act. The 'transfer period' means the lesser of:

  • the period starting on the day the application is received by the original agency (day zero) and ending on the day it is transferred to the other agency; or
  • 10 business days from the day the application is received by the original agency.

The 'transfer period' is not included when calculating the 'processing period'.

b) If the agency or Minister asks the applicant for more time to consider the application

Under section 35 of the RTI Act and section 55 of the IP Act, an agency or Minister may ask the applicant for more time to consider the application at any time before a deemed decision is taken to have been made. Provided the applicant has not refused the request for more time or applied for review under the RTI Act or IP Act, the agency or Minister may continue to consider the application. This period is not counted in the processing period.

c) If the applicant is given a charges estimate notice (revision period)

The revision period is only relevant to the RTI Act.

If the applicant is given a charges estimate notice under section 36 of the RTI Act, the applicant may consult with the agency or Minister with a view to narrowing the application to reduce the applicable charges. This 'revision period' is not counted in the 'processing period'.

Significantly, the wording of section 36 of the RTI Act differs substantively from that of other sections concerning periods of time. The 'revision period' starts on the date of the first charges estimate notice (ie that day is 'day 1') and ends on the day the applicant confirms the application or narrows the application.

See 'Section 36 RTI Act' Annotation.

d) If the application involves consultation with a relevant third party

Section 18(2) of the RTI Act identifies periods of time that do not count as part of the 'processing period'. If third party consultation is undertaken under section 37 of the RTI Act, 10 business days for consultation do not count as a part of the 'processing period'.1

See 'Section 37 RTI Act' Annotation.

e) If the applicant is given notice of the agency's intention to refuse to deal with the application under section 42(1)(a) of the RTI Act or section 61(1)(a) of the IP Act.

Section 41 of the RTI Act and section 60 of the IP Act outline grounds on which an agency or Minister may refuse to deal with an application because of the effect it would have on an agency or Minister's functions. If an agency or Minister intends to refuse to deal with an application under section 41 RTI Act or section 60 of the IP Act, a notice must be sent to the applicant under section 42(1) of the RTI Act or section 61(1) of the IP Act advising that the applicant may consult with the agency to revise the terms of their application.

The applicant has a period of 10 business days after the date of the notice, or a longer period if agreed by the agency or Minister and the applicant, to consult with a view to altering the terms of the application so it can be processed. This consultation period does not count as part of the processing period.

See 'Section 41 RTI Act' Annotation.

  • 1 Section 18(2)(d) of the RTI Act.

Last updated: March 16, 2012