Section 47(3)(b) and section 49 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld)
Public interest factors:
Schedule 4, part 3, item 22 of the RTI Act
Schedule 4, part 4, section 7(1)(b)(ii) of the RTI Act
Schedule 4, part 3, item 9 of the RTI Act
Schedule 4, part 3, item 2 of the RTI Act
The applicant applied under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act) to the Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation (Department) for access to all documents relating to his lottery claim. The Department granted access to some documents but refused access to other documents on the basis that disclosure of information would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.
On external review, further information was released to the applicant by the Department through the informal resolution process. However, the Department maintained that particular information contained in a transaction record used by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) in investigating the applicant's lottery claim was exempt under the RTI Act.
The Department’s reasons for refusal were based on a public interest in protecting the future supply of information from the lottery operator, Golden Casket, to government. Golden Casket submitted that release of the information would support fraudulent claims on winning lottery tickets and that this would be to the detriment of genuine prize winners.
The applicant contended that the transaction record would prove his lottery claim, show that it was not properly investigated and evidence a cover-up by the Queensland Government in relation to a lottery prize. The applicant emphasised that he did not intend to use the information to make fraudulent claims.
In balancing the public interest, the Information Commissioner considered that the reasons for OLGR’s decision on the lottery claim had been revealed to the applicant and could not be further explained by releasing the information in issue. In favour of nondisclosure, the Information Commissioner considered that disclosure of the information in issue could reasonably be expected to:
· enable fraudulent claims to be made on winning entries
- diminish the high commercial value of the information to a genuine ticket holder
- impede the administration of justice generally for any person who has a genuine claim to an identified lottery prize; and
- prejudice the commercial affairs of the lottery operator.
The Information Commissioner decided that it would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest to grant access to information in the transaction record and affirmed the Department’s decision to refuse access under sections 47(3)(b) and 49 of the RTI Act.