Kenmatt Projects Pty Ltd and Building Services Authority; Graham (Third Party)
(1996 S0094, 27 September 1999)
This was a 'reverse FOI' application by a builder who objected to access being given to dispute files held by the respondent concerning the builder and various clients. The builder claimed that those files qualified for exemption under s.45(1)(c) of the FOI Act. The Information Commissioner found that disclosure of the bulk of the matter contained on the dispute files could not reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on the builder's business affairs, although the Information Commissioner accepted that there was some matter, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be of concern to potential customers of the builder.
In any event, the Information Commissioner found that public interest considerations favouring disclosure (i.e., providing an understanding of how the respondent carries out its licensing and compliance functions in relation to builders under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991, and enhancing the accountability of the respondent for the manner in which it resolves disputes, licenses builders and protects consumers) outweighed any such apprehended adverse effects.
The Information Commissioner also had regard to the fact that the respondent makes publicly available the number of directions for rectification work which are issued against particular builders, and that disclosure of the relevant dispute files would afford a more balanced and detailed account of a particular builder's performance. The Information Commissioner found that the matter in issue did not qualify for exemption under s.45(1)(c) of the FOI Act.