This means the agency has considered your application and decided that they cannot deal with it in the usual way. This may be because of what you have asked for, or how you have asked for it, and therefore the agency is not able to tell you whether or not the documents you have asked for exist. When an agency makes a decision of this kind, it may or may not hold documents of the type you have asked for.
Yes. Both the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) ( RTI Act ) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) ( IP Act ) permit an agency to respond in this way to an access application, but the Information Commissioner has explained that it is to be used only in specific and very limited circumstances.
The RTI Act and IP Act generally require documents to be given to an applicant unless a specific exemption or exception applies to the information contained within a document. However, very rarely, an agency may need to make a 'neither confirm nor deny' decision due to the particularly sensitive circumstances relating to the application. In many cases the agency will not be able to explain their decision in a meaningful way because to do so would reveal sensitive information about the existence or non-existence of the documents sought.
An agency can make a 'neither confirm nor deny' decision when they believe that:
An application is made for "the investigation report regarding the sexual harassment complaint made by Ms X against Mr Y (an agency officer)" .
The agency knows, just from reading the application, that the document sought, if it existed, would contain Ms X and Mr Y's personal information, the release of which would (in almost all circumstances) be contrary to the public interest. In addition, if the agency acknowledges that it holds the report, even if it does not release the information, it would confirm that it had received a sexual harassment complaint from Ms X against Mr Y. The fact that a specific complaint had been received against a named person or made by a named person is a type of information that would generally not be released under the RTI Act or IP Act.
If you don't agree with the agency's decision, you have the right to apply in writing for an internal review within 20 business days of the date of the decision notice.
An internal review is conducted by another person within the agency. If you disagree with the outcome of the internal review, you may then apply in writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner for an external review.
Alternatively you may skip the internal review process and apply for an external review straight away.
Applications for an external review must be made in writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner within 20 business days from the internal review decision or the date of the agency's original decision.
The relevant section of the RTI Act, which is substantially similar to the section in the IP Act, is included at Appendix A of this information sheet.
A decision refusing access to a document under section 47 is a reviewable decision see schedule 5, definition reviewable decision, paragraph (e)
Current as at: June 5, 2017