Bolton and Department of Transport
(1995 S0113, 20 December 1995)
This case involved a challenge to the Department's decision to require a $30.00 application fee from an applicant seeking to obtain access to documents relating to certain roadworks. The Information Commissioner applied the principles concerning the interpretation of the term 'personal affairs', set out in Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227 and Ryder and Department of Employment, Vocational Education, Training & Industrial Relations (1994) 2 QAR 150.
The Information Commissioner determined that the applicant was required to pay the application fee. The Information Commissioner discussed the meaning of the word 'concerning' and its relevant variations, i.e. 'concern', and 'concerns'. The Information Commissioner found that, when used in conjunction with the phrase 'personal affairs of a person' in the FOI Act and FOI Regulation, the word 'concerning' means 'about' or 'regarding'. The documents in issue were about roadworks, and did not contain information about the personal affairs of the applicant. The Information Commissioner decided that the fact that the applicant had incurred a speeding charge in the vicinity of the roadworks (and hoped to use the documents to contest that charge) did not transform the documents in issue into documents concerning his personal affairs.