Stiller and Department of the Premier and Cabinet
(310257, 25 May 2011)
Section 41 Right to Information Act 2009 – Effect on agency’s or Minister’s functions
The applicant sought access to various documents and information including public submissions in relation to the Integrity and Accountability Green Paper and the Response to Integrity and Accountability in Queensland held by the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Department).
On 14 April 2010, the Department decided to refuse to deal with the application under section 41 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) following an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate with the applicant ways to reduce the scope of the application. On internal review, the Department affirmed its initial decision (following a reassessment of the time and resources it would take to respond to the application).
The applicant applied for external review of the Department’s internal review decision. Following consideration of each party’s submissions and the requirements of sections 41 and 42 of the RTI Act, Right to Information Commissioner Mead found:
- the Department had satisfied the prerequisites set out in section 42 of the RTI Act before refusing to deal with the application
- the Department did not have regard to the applicant’s reasons for applying for access
- the Department had regard to the resources that would be used to undertake the following processes in dealing with the application:
- identifying, locating or collating any documents held by the Department
- making copies, or edited copies of any documents
- deciding whether to give, refuse or defer access to any documents, including resources that would have to be used in examining any documents or conducting third party consultations; and
- notifying any final decision on the application; and
- the Department’s assessment of the work involved in processing the application was reasonable.
Accordingly, Right to Information Commissioner Mead affirmed the Department’s decision to refuse to deal with the application under section 41 of the RTI Act on the basis that it would substantially and unreasonably divert the Department’s resources from their use by the agency in performing its functions.