Black and Brisbane City Council (310001)

Application number:
Decision date:
Thursday, Dec 16, 2010

Section 47(3)(a) Right to Information Act 2009 – refusal of access


Section 52(1)(a) Right to Information Act 2009 – document non-existent or unlocatable


The applicant sought access to documents, including CCTV footage relating to a workplace incident that occurred in a Brisbane City Council (BCC) building.


BCC released CCTV footage relating to the incident to the applicant on internal review. The applicant submitted that there should be further CCTV footage available.  BCC submitted that the footage supplied was identified and preserved at the time of the incident for the purposes of conducting an investigation and that there was no further footage in existence of the incident. It was the regular practice of the BCC to record CCTV footage over a four week period and footage not preserved at the time would have been recorded over.


The applicant sought review of BCC’s decision to refuse access on the basis that the documents did not exist.


The Right to Information Commissioner considered whether the documents were nonexistent in terms of sections 47(3)(a) and 52(1)(a) of the RTI Act.


The Right to Information Commissioner applied the principles in PDE and the University of Queensland, (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 9 February 2009) that apply when refusing access to nonexistent documents.  She was satisfied, having regard to the submissions by the applicant and the BCC, that there were reasonable grounds for finding that the further CCTV footage sought by the applicant did not exist.


Accordingly, the Commissioner decided that access to further CCTV footage could be refused under sections 47(3) and 52(1)(a) of the RTI Act on the basis that the footage does not exist.