Tait and Burdekin Shire Council

Application number:
2002 L0009
Decision date:
Friday, Mar 22, 2002

Tait and Burdekin Shire Council
(2002 L0009, 22 March 2002) 

A firm of consultants who had prepared an environmental impact study for a proposed expansion of a prawn farm were required to place the proposal on public display for a period of two weeks in accordance with s.93 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Cth.  The firm entered into an arrangement with the Council for the documents to be placed on public display at the Council offices. At the end of the two-week display period, the documents were returned to the firm of consultants.  The applicant, who had been permitted to inspect but not copy the documents during the two-week display period, sought access to the documents under the FOI Act. 

Once the Council had parted with possession of the documents (legal ownership of which had always remained with the consultants), there was no basis on which the documents were amenable to the application of the FOI Act, as they were not documents in the possession or control of the Council: see Holt & Reeves and Education Queensland (1998) 4 QAR 310 at pages 317-318, paragraphs 24-25.  Pursuant to s.77 of the FOI Act, the Deputy Information Commissioner decided not to deal further with the application for review on the ground that it was misconceived and lacking in substance.