SJ and Others and Department of Communities
(210263, 210264, 210265, 210266, 210267, 210268, 210269, 210270, 210271, 210272, 210273, 210274, 28 September 2007)
Section 45(1)(c) Matter relating to Business, Professional, Financial or Commercial Affairs
The Courier-Mail sought access to compliance notices issued by the Department of Communities to child care centres in 2006 and 2007.
Twelve relevant notices were located.
The Department proposed to release the notices subject to the deletion of matter considered exempt under section 45(1)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld) (FOI Act). The external review applicants submitted that the notices were exempt in their entirety under section 45(1)(c) of the FOI Act.
Assistant Commissioner (AC) Henry found that information which could identify relevant centres concerned the business or commercial affairs of the external review applicants and its release could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on these affairs.
AC Henry balanced the competing public interest considerations of government transparency and accountability with the need to maintain the secrecy of sensitive commercial information held by government agencies about business operators. AC Henry found that release of the notices (subject to the exemption of identifying information) was sufficient to:
· provide transparency and accountability of government
· demonstrate how the Department and its officers perform compliance functions.