Key published decisions applying section 85 RTI Act

Simpson MP and Department of Transport and Main Roads (Unreported,
Queensland Information Commissioner, 29 July 2011)

The applicant applied for access to documents relating to the business case for the New Queensland Drivers Licence for a prescribed period.  After receiving a Charges Estimate Notice, the applicant revised her request (Revised Application).  The Department located one document relating to the Revised Application and refused access to that document because it comprised exempt information under section 48 and schedule 3, section 1 of the RTI Act.

The applicant applied for external review on the grounds that the Department should have identified additional documents within the scope of her application.  The applicant submitted that the Department interpreted her application too narrowly. The applicant advised that she did not intend to revise the terms of her application so considerably that only one document was within the scope.

The RTI Commissioner found that the reviewable decision related to the Revised Application only, not the original access application.  Therefore, the RTI Commissioner could not interpret the Revised Application more broadly than its terms even where an applicant may, after receiving a reviewable decision, believe they have legitimate reasons for wanting to return to broader terms.  [12] The RTI Commissioner reviewed the decision and considered whether the Department had made sufficient searches to locate documents by reference to the Revised Application only.

The RTI Commissioner determined that access to additional documents relevant to the Revised Application could be refused under section 47(3)(e) and section 52(1)(a) of the RTI Act because there were reasonable grounds for the Department to be satisfied that no further documents relevant to the Revised Application existed. [40]

Last updated: May 20, 2013