Malone and Department of Housing
Malone and Townsville District Health Service
(2004 F0290, 30 June 2004)
Application for extension of time – Personal affairs
The applicant purported to lodge an application for external review approximately 100 days outside the 60 day time limit prescribed in the FOI Act. She sought an extension of time under s.73(1)(d) of the FOI Act within which to lodge that application.
The relevant FOI access application sought access to medical records of the applicant's deceased father. The Deputy Information Commissioner found that the matter to which the applicant sought access was properly to be characterised as information concerning the personal affairs of the applicant's father and was therefore prima facie exempt from disclosure to the applicant under s.44(1) of the FOI Act. As to the public interest balancing test incorporated within s.44(1), the Deputy Information Commissioner considered the public interest considerations identified by the applicant as weighing in favour of disclosure to her of the matter in issue, namely, that disclosure would allow her to "close" her relationship with her father, and to assess whether any possible legal or compensatory action lay against the respondent. The Deputy Information Commissioner decided (applying Summers and Cairns District Health Services; Hintz (Third Party) (1997)3 QAR 479) that the first consideration could not properly be characterised as a public interest consideration, but rather, was a personal interest of the applicant. The Deputy Commissioner also found that there was nothing in the matter in issue that would assist the applicant to pursue any remedy against the respondent regarding its treatment of the applicant's father.
In view of the extent of the delay, which was largely unexplained, and the fact that he was not satisfied that the applicant had a reasonably arguable case with reasonable prospects of success, the Deputy Information Commissioner applied the principles in Young and Workers' Compensation Board of Qld (1994) 1 QAR 543 and declined to exercise his discretion to grant the requested extension of time under s.73(1)(d) of the FOI Act.