Stiller and Department of Transport and Main Roads
(310524, 4 January 2012)
Section 47(3)(e) of the RTI Act – Grounds on which access may be refused
Section 52(1)(b) of the RTI Act – Documents nonexistent or unlocatable
Section 94(1)(a) of the RTI Act – Information commissioner may decide not to review
On 6 September 2010, the applicant made an application to the Department of Transport and Main Roads (Department) primarily requesting the production of multiple affidavits relating to the issuing of a Queensland motor vehicle modification approval, cancellation of the approval and the applicant’s subsequent attempts to have the modifications re-validated, and also seeking access to certain specified documents including factory production details regarding his vehicle (Access Application).
By correspondence dated 10 September 2010, the Department advised the applicant that affidavits would not be provided and confirmed the scope of the Access Application as follows:
Part 1 – the issuing of Queensland motor vehicle modification approval No. …, the cancellation of same and subsequent attempts to have the original modification revalidated and other matters relating to this modification approval/ cancellation.
Part 2 – Please provide certified copies of 1929 or 1930 road registration of this vehicle, to establish the type and passenger carrying capacity.
On internal review the applicant agreed to this scope but submitted that other documents were relevant including photos of Dodge Brother motor vehicle/s (Photos) shown to the applicant at a meeting in 2008 between himself and officers of the Department held to discuss why the Department would not revalidate the relevant vehicle modifications approval.
The applicant applied for external review. Issues for determination related to the Photos and further documents sought by the applicant including relevant vehicle factory production details and the request for multiple affidavits from Departmental officers.
Despite the Department agreeing, consequent to informal resolution processes, that the Photos were within the scope of the Access Application, the Photos were unable to be located by it.
After carefully considering all of the evidence, Right to Information Commissioner Mead was satisfied that:
· the Department is entitled to refuse access to the Photos under section 47(3)(e) and 52(1)(b) of the RTI Act;
· the documents sought by the applicant from the Department on external review are outside the scope of the Access Application; and
· the applicant’s external review application in so far as it requests that the Department create and provide affidavits and source and provide factory production details is misconceived and will not be further dealt with under section 94(1)(a) of the RTI Act.