Simpson MP and Department of Transport and Main Roads
(310373, 29 July 2011)
Section 47(3)(e) Right to Information Act 2009 – Grounds on which access may be refused
Section 52(1)(a) Right to Information Act 2009 – Document nonexistent or unlocatable
The applicant sought access to documents regarding the business case for the New Queensland Drivers Licence for the period January 2002 to June 2010 held by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (Department).
In response to a Charges Estimate Notice, the applicant revised the wording of her request (Revised Application).
In its decision, the Department advised the applicant that it had located one document, comprising 106 pages, responsive to the scope of the Revised Application. The Department refused access to that document on the ground that it comprises exempt information pursuant to section 48 and schedule 3, section 1 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act).
On external review, the applicant accepted that the document was considered by the Cabinet Budget Review Committee, and therefore was exempt information. However, the applicant submitted that there should be additional documents within the scope of her application, and the Department should have identified these.
The applicant also submitted that the Department’s interpretation of the Revised Application was too narrow. After considering all of the information, Right to Information Commissioner Mead was satisfied that the Department had not interpreted the terms of the Revised Application too narrowly.
With regard to the Department’s search efforts, Right to Information Commissioner Mead was satisfied that:
· the Department had undertaken searches for the documents sought by the applicant in all relevant locations, having regard to the Department’s practices and procedures in relation to information management and other administrative practices
· such searches comprise all reasonable steps to locate the documents; and
· there are reasonable grounds for the Department to be satisfied that no additional documents responsive to the Revised Application exist.
Right to Information Commissioner Mead varied the decision under review by finding that access to additional documents responsive to the Revised Application can be refused under section 47(3)(e) of the RTI Act on the ground set out in section 52(1)(a) of the RTI Act.