The Right to Information Act (Qld) (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act (Qld) (IP Act) permit agencies1 to respond to an access application by neither confirming nor denying the existence of the documents sought.
Before applying this exception, a decision maker must be satisfied that if the documents existed, they would contain prescribed information under section 55 of the RTI Act or section 69 of the IP Act. These sections provide that an agency is not required to give information as to the existence or non-existence of a document containing prescribed information.
The rationale for this type of response is that in some situations, any other response given by the agency would reveal information2 that could cause harm or would be contrary to the public interest.
A checklist (PDF, 53.23 KB) has been developed to assist in determining whether an agency is entitled to neither confirm nor deny the existence of a document. This should be determined on a case by case basis in the circumstances and context specific to each situation.
‘Prescribed information’ is defined under schedule 5 of the RTI and IP Acts as particular types of exempt information3 or personal information the disclosure of which would be, on balance, contrary to the public interest.
In some situations, a neither confirm nor deny response may not be appropriate even though the information is prescribed information. For example, it would not be appropriate to neither confirm nor deny the existence of a document if the applicant already has evidence proving the document’s existence.
- 1 In this Guideline, references to an 'agency' include Ministers, unless otherwise specified.
- 2 See Schedule 5 of the RTI and IP Acts.
- 3 Exempt information mentioned in Schedule 3, section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 or 10.
Current as at: June 5, 2017