Grehan and Department of Employment and Training
(2000 S0203, 8 February 2002)
The applicant sought review of the 'sufficiency of search' by the Department of Employment and Training (DET) for documents that he believed should be in the possession of the student counsellor on one of its TAFE campuses. The applicant contended that the documents must exist, to support statements made by the counsellor to officers who investigated complaints about the applicant by staff and students at that campus. (The applicant had already been provided with a number of documents relating to the investigation, including several documents which were located on internal review, rather than in the initial response to his access application.)
Files held by the counsellor were inspected, and the counsellor provided information, supported by a statutory declaration, on her record-keeping practices and the reasons why she did not have records of certain matters. The applicant also provided a statutory declaration and submissions. The Assistant Information Commissioner decided that the applicant's arguments did not establish reasonable grounds for believing that additional responsive documents should exist in the Department's possession or control. The Assistant Information Commissioner observed that the location of additional documents on internal review was not evidence that DET or the counsellor had deliberately attempted to withhold documents from the applicant.