7 Disclosing trade secrets, business affairs or research

OIC note: The public interest balancing test is explained in the Annotation to section 47(3)(b) of the RTI Act. Specifically, for more detailed information about how the public interest test has been applied in particular contexts or in relation to particular documents, please see the ‘Public interest test applied - contexts’ part of that Annotation. In addition, the ‘Public interest test applied - factors’ part of that Annotation 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.

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because—

(a) disclosure of the information would disclose trade secrets of an agency or another person; or

(b) disclosure of the information—

(i) would disclose information (other than trade secrets) that has a commercial value to an agency or another person; and

(ii) could reasonably be expected to destroy or diminish the commercial value of the information; or

(c) disclosure of the information—

(i) would disclose information (other than trade secrets or information mentioned in paragraph (b)) concerning the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of an agency or another person; and

(ii) could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on those affairs or to prejudice the future supply of information of this type to government.

(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply if what would be disclosed concerns only the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, an application for access to the document containing the information is being made.

(3) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because disclosure—

(a) would disclose the purpose or results of research, whether the research is yet to be started, has started but is unfinished, or is finished; and

(b) could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on the agency or other person by whom, or on whose behalf, the research is intended to be, is being, or was, carried out.

(4) However, subsection (3) does not apply if what would be disclosed concerns only research that is intended to be, is being, or was, carried out by the agency or other person by whom, or on whose behalf, an application for access to the document containing the information is being made.