Candy and Environmental Protection Agency
The applicant sought access to 15 categories of documents (Items) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All documents sought by the applicant were in connection with the removal of a red kangaroo from the applicant’s possession by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) officers over five years prior. The applicant sought access to legislation, orders in council, applicable QPWS policies, reports, photos and lists of protected animals and wildlife and their respective classifications under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld).
The EPA provided the applicant with access to relevant sections of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and parts of a briefing note dated 18 July 2006 in response to his request. However, the EPA refused the applicant access to certain matter in the briefing note on the basis of section 44(1) of the FOI Act and refused access to the remaining documents sought by the applicant on the basis of section 21, section 22(b) and section 29B of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld) (FOI Act). The original decision of the EPA was affirmed in its entirety on internal review.
In this review, the applicant contested the EPA’s decision to refuse him access to documents and also attempted to expand the scope of his FOI application.
By applying the principles set out in Robbins and Brisbane North Regional Health Authority (1994) 2 QAR 30, Assistant Commissioner Corby found that the scope of the external review was limited to a review of the EPA’s decision only with respect to the specific documents sought in the FOI application.
With respect to the EPA’s decision to refuse access to the documents sought by the applicant, Assistant Commissioner Corby made the following findings:
· section 28A(1) of the FOI Act applied to the documents sought in certain parts of the FOI Application because those documents did not exist
· section 29B of the FOI Act applied to the documents sought in certain other parts of the FOI Application because the applicant did not disclose a reasonable basis for seeking access to those documents to which he had previously sought access from the EPA in earlier FOI applications
· one part of the External Review Application was misconceived as the applicant would not obtain any relief from the external review process because the documents sought in that part of the External Review Application were clearly either publicly available or did not exist and therefore, that part should not be further dealt with pursuant to section 77(1)(a) of the FOI Act
· the matter in issue in the four folios located by the EPA in response to one other part of the FOI Application was exempt from disclosure under section 44(1) of the FOI Act because it concerns the personal affairs of individuals other than the applicant and its disclosure would not, on balance, be in the public interest.