Stevens and Environmental Protection Agency

Application number:
Decision date:
Thursday, Jul 03, 2008

Stevens and Environmental Protection Agency
(210422, 3 July 2008)


Section 44(1) Personal affairs

The applicant sought access to the name of the person who nominated a property for inclusion on the State’s cultural heritage register.  The applicant submitted that the information sought would assist her to assess whether to pursue a legal remedy against the nominator on account of the nomination. 

Assistant Commissioner Henry: 

  • considered whether a person’s name is their personal affairs and determined that in the circumstances, the nominator’s name was properly characterised as concerning the personal affairs of a person other than the applicant, as it identifies not just a person but the person who nominated the property for inclusion on the cultural heritage register
  • considered the public interest considerations favouring disclosure including:
    • the declaration on the nomination form that the information provided may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld) (FOI Act)
    • an allegation of the nominator’s dishonesty and improper motive
    • the applicant’s right to pursue a legal remedy
    • government accountability and transparency of decision making
    • the fact that the agency had no written policy regarding disclosure of nominators’ names at the relevant time
    • the applicant’s justifiable need to know the nominator’s name
  • considered the public interest considerations against disclosure including:
    • the privacy interest attaching to the nominator’s name
    • the proposition that disclosure of nominators’ names will lead to a decrease in nominations from private individuals which may adversely affect the protection of Queensland heritage
  • considered the effect of an amendment to the Heritage Act 1992 (Qld) after the applicant lodged the FOI application and determined that:
    • in accordance with Woodyatt and Minister for Corrective Services (1995) 2 QAR 383, the applicant had an accrued right under the law at it stood prior to the amendment and on this basis, the law to be applied is the law as it stood at the date of the applicant’s FOI application
    • in any event, the amendments to the Heritage Act 1992 (Qld) and the agency’s longstanding practice of not releasing nominators’ names, whilst not determinative, provide useful guidance to the consideration of relevant public interest issues
  • weighed the public interest considerations for and against disclosure and decided on the information available that the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure did not outweigh the privacy interests favouring non-disclosure

found that the nominator’s name was exempt from disclosure under section 44(1) of the FOI Act.