Application of section 40 RTI Act

Relevant considerations

1. What is the scope of the access application?

The application must specify that it relates to: 

  • all documents that contain information of a stated kind or relate to a stated subject matter; or 
  • all documents of a stated class that contain information of a stated kind or relate to a stated subject matter.

This pre-condition must be satisfied before an agency or Minister can invoke the provision. If the wording of the application does not satisfy section 40(1)(a), the agency or Minister must process the application and assess relevant documents under the RTI Act.

2. Do all relevant documents appear to be comprised of exempt information?

It must appear to the agency or Minister that all documents that respond to the application would be comprised of exempt information under schedule 3 of the RTI Act. Importantly, an agency or Minister can only refuse to deal with the application under section 40 on the basis that relevant documents appear to meet the requirements of section 48 of the RTI Act.1

Under section 54(2)(f) of the RTI Act, the agency or Minister must identify the schedule 3 exemption it relies on and explain why that exemption is apparently satisfied for all relevant documents.

  • 1 Tolone and Department of Police (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 9 October 2009) at paragraph 21. [up]

Last updated: March 16, 2012