Public interest test applied - factors

Please note: the text of the factors listed below summarises the legislation, and only includes factors for which relevant links have been added.  Please see schedule 4 or consult the current RTI Act for the full legislative text of each factor.

Sections 47(3)(b) and 49 together set out the steps for deciding whether disclosing information would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.  This includes identifying which relevant public interest factors mentioned in schedule 4 might favour disclosure or nondisclosure in the circumstances.  The material below provides links to decisions which have considered particular public interest factors listed in schedule 4, as well as links to FOI Act Annotations where FOI Act provisions operated in a similar way to the current RTI Act public interest factors.

This page contains the following sections:

In addition to this part of the Annotation, please see the ’Public interest test applied - contexts’ part of this Annotation which provides information about how the public interest test has been applied in particular contexts or in relation to particular documents.

Schedule 4, part 2 – factors favouring disclosure in the public interest

1 – Promote open discussion of public affairs and enhance Government’s accountability

2 – Contribute to positive and informed debate on important issues or matters of serious interest

3 – Inform community of Government’s operations

4 – Ensure effective oversight of expenditure of public funds

5 – Allow or assist inquiry into possible deficiencies in conduct or administration of agency or official

6 – Reveal or substantiate that agency or official has engaged in misconduct or negligent, improper or unlawful conduct

7 – Applicant’s personal information

9 – Deceased person’s personal information, and applicant is eligible family member

10 – Advance fair treatment of individuals and other entities in accordance with law in dealings with agencies

11 – Reveal reason for government decision and any background or contextual information that informed decision

12 – Reveal that information was incorrect, out of date, misleading, gratuitous, unfairly subjective or irrelevant

13 – Contribute to protection of environment

14 – Reveal environmental or health risks or measures relating to public health and safety

16 – Contribute to administration of justice generally, including procedural fairness

17 – Contribute to administration of justice for a person

18 – Contribute to enforcement of criminal law

19 – Contribute to innovation and the facilitation of research

Schedule 4, part 3 – factors favouring nondisclosure in the public interest

2 – Prejudice private, business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of entities

3 – Prejudice protection of an individual’s right to privacy

5 – Deceased person’s personal information, and applicant is eligible family member – impact on deceased person’s privacy if deceased person were alive

6 – Prejudice fair treatment of individuals and information is about unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct or unlawful, negligent or improper conduct

8 – Impede administration of justice generally, including procedural fairness

9 – Impede administration of justice for a person

10 –  Prejudice security or good order of corrective services facility

12 – Prejudice the economy of the state

13 – Prejudice flow of information to police or another law enforcement or regulatory agency

14 – Prejudice intergovernmental relations

15 – Prejudice trade secrets, business affairs or research of agency or person

16 – Prejudice agency’s ability to obtain confidential information

17 – Prejudice competitive commercial activities of agency

18 – Prejudice conduct of investigations, audits or reviews by ombudsman or auditor-general

19 – Prejudice management function of agency or conduct of industrial relations by agency

20 – Prejudice deliberative process of government

21 – Prejudice effectiveness of testing or auditing procedures

22 – Disclosure of information is prohibited by an Act

Schedule 4, part 4 – factors favouring nondisclosure in the public interest because of public interest harm in disclosure

1 – Affecting relations with other governments

2 – Affecting investigations by ombudsman or audits by auditor-general

3 – Affecting particular operations of agencies

4 – Disclosing deliberative processes

5 – Disclosing information brought into existence for ensuring security or good order of corrective services facility

6 – Disclosing personal information

7 – Disclosing trade secrets, business affairs or research

8 – Affecting confidential communications

9 – Affecting State economy

10 – Affecting financial or property interests of State or agency

Unlisted Factors

Foster informed and competitive markets, and thereby discourage and reduce unfair trading practices

Bowmaker Realty and Department of Justice and Attorney-General; Andrews [2015] QICmr 19 (17 August 2015)

Result in a person being subjected to lower level (that is, less that "serious") harassment and intimidation.

6ZJ3HG and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection; OY76VY (Third Party) [2016] QICmr 8 (24 February 2016)

Last updated: July 12, 2018