Ryman and Department of Main Roads

Application number:
1994 S0058
Decision date:
Thursday, Dec 19, 1996
(1996) 3 QAR 416

Ryman and Department of Main Roads
(1994 S0058, 19 December 1996) 

The Information Commissioner applied the principles concerning s.36(1)(c) of the FOI Act which the Commissioner stated in Little and Department of Natural Resources (1996) 3 QAR 170, to documents relating to a proposal for a western bypass highway for Brisbane.  The Information Commissioner found that one memorandum to a Minister was exempt under s.36(1)(c), but that the Department had not discharged its onus to establish that the dominant purpose for creation of two other documents was for briefing, or the use of, a Minister or chief executive in relation to a matter submitted, or proposed to be submitted, to Cabinet. 

The Information Commissioner rejected claims that other documents were exempt under s.36(1)(e) and s.36(1)(g).  The Information Commissioner stated that matter could not ordinarily qualify for exemption under s.36(1)(e) if its creation preceded discussion, deliberation or noting in Cabinet.  The Information Commissioner noted that, if the Department had not in its evidence stated that the matter in issue corresponded to information which had been submitted to Cabinet, the applicant would have had no knowledge of that coincidence.

Since the test for exemption under s.36(1)(e) turns on the consequences of disclosure of the matter in issue itself (not its disclosure in conjunction with extraneous information from the respondent stating that the matter in issue corresponds to matter submitted to Cabinet), the Information Commissioner found that the test for exemption under s.36(1)(e) was not satisfied. The mere disclosure of the matter in issue would not involve the disclosure of any consideration of Cabinet.