8U3AMG and Department of Communities (310233, 15 September 2011)
Sections 47(3)(e) and 52(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) – document unlocatable
Section 73 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) – deletion of irrelevant information
Sections 47(3)(a) and section 48 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) – exempt information - schedule 3 section 12 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) – information disclosure of which is prohibited by an Act
The applicant applied to the Department of Communities (Department) for access to all documents relating to his birth and adoption and information about his biological parents.
The Department decided to:
· refuse access to 36 pages because they were outside the scope of the application
· omit parts of 18 pages on the basis that these parts were irrelevant
· refuse access to 143 pages on the grounds that the information was, on balance, contrary to the public interest
· partially release 42 pages subject to the deletion of material considered to be contrary to the public interest; and
· release 153 pages in full.
The applicant applied to the Office of the Information Commissioner for external review.
During the course of the external review, the Department agreed to partially release six pages.
The applicant raised concerns on external review about the Department’s failure to locate his birth mother’s consent to adoption form. The Department subsequently conducted additional searches but was unable to locate the form.
The Right to Information Commissioner varied the decision under review by deciding that:
· 67 pages of documents were outside the scope of the access application
· the Department was entitled to refuse access to parts of the 18 documents it identified as irrelevant under section 73 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act)
· the Department was entitled to refuse access to the consent to adoption form under section 47(3)(e) of the RTI Act on the ground in section 52(1)(b) of the RTI Act; and
· release of the balance of the information was exempt under section 48 of the RTI Act because disclosure of the information is prohibited by an Act listed in schedule 3, section 12 of the RTI Act; specifically section 314 of the Adoption Act 2009 (Qld) and section 187 of the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld).