Section 47(3)(e) Right to Information Act – refusal of access
Sections 52(1)(a) and (b) Right to Information Act – nonexistent and unlocatable documents
The applicant applied to Brisbane City Council (Council) under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act) for access to various documents relating to sewage flooding issues on her property.
Council located and provided the applicant with a number of documents. Council also refused access to some of the documents sought on the basis that those documents were either unlocatable or did not exist.
In her external review application, the applicant questioned the sufficiency of Council’s searches, contending that Council held more documents responding to her access application.
In the course of the external review, the applicant narrowed the categories of documents sought.
During the course of the external review, Council conducted further searches for documents and provided submissions to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) in relation to those searches.
In view of Council’s submissions, which included details of its searches and inquiries with the Morningside Ward Office and Queensland Urban Utilities and having regard to the decision in PDE and the University of Queensland (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 9 February 2009) the Right to Information Commissioner affirmed Council’s decision and found that there were reasonable grounds to be satisfied that:
- one document was unlocatable and therefore access could be refused under sections 47(3)(e) and 52(1)(b) of the RTI Act; and
- the remaining documents were nonexistent and therefore access could be refused under sections 47(3)(e) and 52(1)(a) of the RTI Act.