Cannon and Australian Quality Egg Farms Ltd

Application number:
1993 S0094
Decision date:
Monday, May 30, 1994
(1994) 1 QAR 491

Cannon and Australian Quality Egg Farms Ltd
(1993 S0094, 30 May 1994) 

This case contains a detailed analysis of s.45(1) and s.45(2) of the FOI Act in the light of Commonwealth, Victorian  and New South Wales case law on comparable provisions in the freedom of information legislation of those jurisdictions. 

There is a discussion of the meaning of 'trade secrets' in s.45(1)(a). 

There is also a discussion of the meaning of the key phrase 'commercial value' in s.45(1)(b) and the meaning of the phrase 'could reasonably be expected to destroy or diminish the commercial value of the information' in s.45(1)(b). 

The case includes a detailed analysis of the constituent elements of s.45(1)(c) of the FOI Act, namely – 

i)     the proper characterisation of the information in issue as information concerning the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of an agency or another person;

ii)    a reasonable expectation that disclosure would have either of the two prejudicial effects stipulated in s.45(1)(c)(ii) of the FOI Act;

iii)    the public interest balancing test incorporated within s.45(1)(c). 

That analysis is illustrated by the application of s.45(1)(c) to the particular information in issue in the case. 

This case also includes (at paragraphs 7-16) a discussion of the appropriate approach to the interpretation of the terms of an applicant's FOI access application, in light of the obligations imposed on applicants and agencies by s.25 of the FOI Act.