O'Dwyer and Workers' Compensation Board of Queensland
(1995 S0126, 18 December 1995)
The case involved the application of the principles set out in Cannon and Australian Quality Egg Farms Limited (1994) 1 QAR 491, in relation to s.45(1)(c) (the business, commercial, and financial affairs exemption). The document in issue was a computer generated report, comprising information on annual totals of claims and premiums recorded for the insurance business of the Board over a number of years, listed by occupation code.
The Information Commissioner determined that the matter in issue comprised information concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of the Board. The Information Commissioner considered, and rejected, three claimed adverse effects of disclosure on the business affairs of the Board. The Information Commissioner also determined that the balance of the public interest weighed in favour of disclosure, in order to enhance the accountability of government and to promote informed community participation in government decision-making. The Information Commissioner found that the report conveyed information about the Board's performance in respect of its core functions, which would add to public understanding of the Board's role and performance and which would be of value in informing public debate concerning the future direction of arrangements for the provision of workers' compensation insurance in Queensland.
The Information Commissioner also rejected a contention by the Board that the report was exempt under s.45(3) (the research exemption). The Information Commissioner discussed the meaning of the word 'research' in the context of s.45(3), concluding that the provision was not intended to extend to the business accounts, or commonly kept business records, of an organisation. The Information Commissioner determined that the report was more akin to the business records or accounts of the Board than to the results of a research project undertaken to discover facts or principles.