TLN and TLP and Fraser Coast Regional Council
(210849, 25 November 2009)
Section 42(1) Matter relating to law enforcement or public safety
Section 44(1) Matter affecting personal affairs
Section 46(1)(b) Matter communicated in confidence
The freedom of information applicant applied to Fraser Coast Regional Council (Council) for information relating to an application to keep additional dogs at the applicants’ property. In the course of processing that freedom of information application, Council sought the views of the applicants regarding release of the documents, under section 51 of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI Act). The applicants objected to release of certain information contained in the documents.
The applicants applied for external review of Council’s decision to release certain information about the dogs, submitting that the matter in issue was exempt from disclosure under sections 44(1), 46(1), and 42(1)(c), (ca) of (j) of the FOI Act.
Having carefully considered the matter in issue, the relevant law, and the submissions of the participants, Assistant Commissioner Henry affirmed the decision under review.
In relation to section 44(1) of the FOI Act, Assistant Commissioner Henry found that:
· the matter in issue did not concern the personal affairs of a person other than the original freedom of information applicant, in the sense that term was used in section 44(1) of the FOI Act
· it was therefore unnecessary to consider whether disclosure of the matter in issue would, on balance, be in the public interest
· the matter in issue was not exempt from disclosure under section 44(1) of the FOI Act.
In relation to section 46(1)(b) of the FOI Act, Assistant Commissioner Henry found that:
· disclosure of the matter in issue could not reasonably be expected to prejudice the future supply of such information as community members would continue to supply such information to Council if they wished to obtain the benefit of a permit to keep additional dogs in accordance with the relevant local laws
· the third requirement of the relevant test for exemption under this section was not met (making it unnecessary to consider the other requirements of the test)
· the matter in issue was not exempt from disclosure under section 46(1)(b) of the FOI Act.
In relation to section 42(1)(c), (ca) and (j) of the FOI Act, Assistant Commissioner Henry found that in the circumstances, she was not satisfied that disclosure of the matter in issue could reasonably be expected to endanger a person’s life of physical safety, result in a person being subjected to a serious act of harassment or intimidation, or prejudice the wellbeing of a cultural or natural resource or the habitat of animals or plants.