Myers and Treasury Department

Application number:
1993 S0235
Decision date:
Friday, Apr 21, 1995
(1995) 2 QAR 470

Myers and Queensland Treasury
(1993 S0235, 21 April 1995) 

This was a ‘sufficiency of search’ case in which the applicants sought access to a document recording a change in the shareholding of a private company, which they had reason to believe should have been lodged with the Office of State Revenue for payment of stamp duty.  The respondent had a computer record of the lodgement of unspecified documents in the name of the relevant company, but could not account for the whereabouts of the unspecified documents.  The Information Commissioner therefore undertook, and required the respondent to undertake, further searches and inquiries to establish whether the respondent had possession of the document which the applicants were seeking.  The searches and inquiries led to the conclusion that no such document had ever been in the possession of Queensland Treasury. 

At paragraph 51, the Information Commissioner made some observations as to whether the respondent merely has temporary custody of documents lodged with it for assessment and payment of stamp duty, rather than the possession or control necessary to make a document a 'document of an agency' for the purposes of the FOI Act.