Carter and Gold Coast City Council
(210532, 28 August 2008)
The applicant sought access to a range of documents (FOI Application) from Gold Coast City Council (Council) under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI Act).
Council decided that eight of the 52 responsive documents were exempt from disclosure, in their entirety, under section 43(1) of the FOI Act.
Assistant Commissioner Henry considered the principles set out in Esso Australia Resources Ltd v Commission of Taxation (1999) 74 ALJR 339 and Pratt Holdings Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation (2004) 207 ALR 217 and decided that the matter in issue was privileged and exempt from disclosure in its entirety under section 43(1) of the FOI Act on the basis that:
· it constituted or recorded communications between Council and its legal representatives
· the communications were confidential in nature
· the dominant purpose of the communications was Council seeking and receiving professional legal assistance in anticipation of legal proceedings.
The applicant submitted that there were around ten thousand additional documents relating to Council dump records which were responsive to the FOI Application but had not been provided by Council. The applicant was invited to make specific submissions setting out reasonable grounds on which to base a belief that further documents responsive to the FOI Application exist.
In accordance with the principles set out in Shepherd and Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning (1994) 1 QAR 464 at paragraphs 18 and 19, Assistant Commissioner Henry decided that:
· the applicant’s submissions were based on his belief that additional documents should exist but did not provide relevant documentary or other evidence supporting the existence of reasonable grounds for his belief
there were no reasonable grounds to believe that additional documents responding to the FOI Application existed in the possession or control of Council