Flegg and Queensland Health (Department of Health)
(2005 F0270, 25 January 2006)
Application of s.40(c) – substantial adverse effect on management of agency personnel
The applicant sought access to a Draft Report by Queensland Health into circumstances surrounding deaths of people awaiting cardiac services at The Prince Charles Hospital.
Queensland Health refused access to parts of 4 pages of the Draft Report on the basis that those parts were exempt matter under s.40(c) of the FOI Act – substantial adverse effect on management of agency personnel. During the course of the external review process the majority of the matter in issue was disclosed through agreement with the parties. Queensland Health objected to disclosure of the final two paragraphs in issue, revealing the purported views of staff, on the basis that the accuracy of the reporting of such views was strongly disputed by the relevant staff, and their disclosure could reasonably be expected to have a substantial adverse impact on the management of personnel, and ultimately on the provision of health services.
Commissioner Taylor was satisfied that disclosure of the matter remaining in issue could reasonably be expected to have a substantial adverse effect on the management by an agency of the agency's personnel and its disclosure would not, on balance, be in the public interest. Commissioner Taylor therefore found that the matter remaining in issue qualified for exemption under s.40(c) of the FOI Act.