Queensland Consolidated Acts

[Index] [Table] [Search] [Search this Act] [Notes] [Noteup] [Previous] [Next] [Download] [Help]

RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2009 - SCHEDULE 4

SCHEDULE 4 – Factors for deciding the public interest

Note—
Access to a document may be refused to the extent the document comprises information the disclosure of which would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest under section 49 —see section 47 (3) (b) .

Part 1 - Factors irrelevant to deciding the public interest

1 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause embarrassment to the Government or to cause a loss of confidence in the Government.
2 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to result in the applicant misinterpreting or misunderstanding the document.
3 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to result in mischievous conduct by the applicant.
4 The person who created the document containing the information was or is of high seniority within the agency.

Part 2 - Factors favouring disclosure in the public interest

1 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to promote open discussion of public affairs and enhance the Government’s accountability.
2 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to positive and informed debate on important issues or matters of serious interest.
3 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to inform the community of the Government’s operations, including, in particular, the policies, guidelines and codes of conduct followed by the Government in its dealings with members of the community.
4 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to ensure effective oversight of expenditure of public funds.
5 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to allow or assist inquiry into possible deficiencies in the conduct or administration of an agency or official.
6 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal or substantiate that an agency or official has engaged in misconduct or negligent, improper or unlawful conduct.
7 The information is the applicant’s personal information.
8 The information is the personal information of a child within the meaning of section 25 , the agent acting for the applicant is the child’s parent within the meaning of section 25 and disclosure of the information is reasonably considered to be in the child’s best interests.
9 The information relates to a person who has died and both of the following apply—
(a) the information would, if the person were alive, be personal information of the person;
(b) the applicant is an eligible family member of the person.
10 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to advance the fair treatment of individuals and other entities in accordance with the law in their dealings with agencies.
11 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal the reason for a government decision and any background or contextual information that informed the decision.
12 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal that the information was—
(a) incorrect; or
(b) out of date; or
(c) misleading; or
(d) gratuitous; or
(e) unfairly subjective; or
(f) irrelevant.
13 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to the protection of the environment.
14 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal environmental or health risks or measures relating to public health and safety.
15 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to the maintenance of peace and order.
16 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to the administration of justice generally, including procedural fairness.
17 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to the administration of justice for a person.
18 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to the enforcement of the criminal law.
19 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to contribute to innovation and the facilitation of research.

Part 3 - Factors favouring nondisclosure in the public interest

1 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the collective responsibility of Cabinet or the individual responsibility of members to Parliament.
2 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the private, business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of entities.
3 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the protection of an individual’s right to privacy.
4 The information is the personal information of a child within the meaning of section 25 , the applicant is the child’s parent within the meaning of section 25 and disclosure of the information is reasonably considered not to be in the child’s best interests.
5 The information relates to a person who has died and all of the following apply—
(a) the information would, if the person were alive, be personal information of the person;
(b) the applicant is an eligible family member of the person;
(c) the disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected, if the person were alive, to impact on the person’s privacy.
6 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the fair treatment of individuals and the information is about unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct or unlawful, negligent or improper conduct.
7 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice security, law enforcement or public safety.
8 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to impede the administration of justice generally, including procedural fairness.
9 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to impede the administration of justice for a person.
10 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the security or good order of a corrective services facility.
11 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to impede the protection of the environment.
12 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the economy of the State.
13 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the flow of information to the police or another law enforcement or regulatory agency.
14 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice intergovernmental relations.
15 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice trade secrets, business affairs or research of an agency or person.
16 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice an agency’s ability to obtain confidential information.
17 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the competitive commercial activities of an agency.
18 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of investigations, audits or reviews by the ombudsman or auditor-general.
19 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the management function of an agency or the conduct of industrial relations by an agency.
20 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice a deliberative process of government.
21 Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the effectiveness of testing or auditing procedures.
22 Disclosure of the information is prohibited by an Act.

Part 4 - Factors favouring nondisclosure in the public interest because of public interest harm in disclosure

1 Affecting relations with other governments

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if disclosure could—
(a) cause damage to relations between the State and another government; or
(b) divulge information of a confidential nature that was communicated in confidence by or for another government.
(2) Subsection (1) applies only for 10 years after the information was brought into existence.
(3) The information commissioner may, on application by a prescribed entity, extend the 10 year period if the commissioner considers the extension in the public interest.
(4) An application for an extension may be made before or after the end of the 10 year period.
(5) In this section—

"prescribed entity" means—
(a) an agency or Minister; or
(b) an entity that would be a relevant third party under section 37 in relation to the document containing the information in relation to which the extension is sought.

2 Affecting investigations by ombudsman or audits by auditor-general

Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if disclosure could prejudice the conduct of—

(a) an investigation by the ombudsman; or
(b) an audit by the auditor-general.

3 Affecting particular operations of agencies

Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if disclosure could—

(a) prejudice the effectiveness of a method or procedure for the conduct of tests, examinations or audits by an agency; or
(b) prejudice achieving the objects of a test, examination or audit conducted by an agency; or
(c) have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment by an agency of the agency’s staff; or
(d) have a substantial adverse effect on the conduct of industrial relations by an agency.

4 Disclosing deliberative processes

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm through disclosure of—
(a) an opinion, advice or recommendation that has been obtained, prepared or recorded; or
(b) a consultation or deliberation that has taken place;
in the course of, or for, the deliberative processes involved in the functions of government.
Examples of information of the type mentioned in subsection (1)—
• a document prepared by an agency about projections of future revenue for the State
• a document prepared to inform a decision by an agency about potential road routes, where disclosure of all potential routes, including those that are subsequently rejected, could have a negative impact on property values or cause community concern
(2) If the deliberative processes mentioned in subsection (1) include public consultation, subsection (1) applies only until the public consultation starts.
(3) However, subsection (1) does not apply for information to the extent it consists of—
(a) information that appears in an agency’s policy document; or
(b) factual or statistical information; or
(c) expert opinion or analysis (other than expert opinion or analysis commissioned in the course of, or for, the deliberative processes mentioned in subsection (1) ) by a person recognised as an expert in the field of knowledge to which the opinion or analysis relates.
(4) Also, subsection (1) does not apply for information if it consists of—
(a) a report of a body or organisation—
(i) established within an agency; and
(ii) prescribed under a regulation; or
(b) the record of, as a formal statement of the reasons for, a final decision, order or ruling given in the exercise of—
(i) a power; or
(ii) an adjudicative function; or
(iii) a statutory function; or
(iv) the administration of a publicly funded scheme.

5 Disclosing information brought into existence for ensuring security or good order of corrective services facility

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if disclosure would disclose information that—
(a) is in the possession of, or brought into existence by, the department in which the Corrective Services Act 2006 is administered; and
(b) is—
(i) a recording of a telephone call made by an offender from a corrective services facility; or
(ii) an audio recording made in a corrective services facility for the security or good order of the facility; or
(iii) a visual recording of a corrective services facility or a part of a corrective services facility; or
(iv) a document to the extent that it refers to or contains any part of a recording mentioned in subparagraph (i) , (ii) or (iii) .
(2) In this section—

"offender" means an offender as defined under the Corrective Services Act 2006 .

6 Disclosing personal information

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if disclosure would disclose personal information of a person, whether living or dead.
(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply if what would be disclosed is only personal information of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, an application for access to a document containing the information is being made.

7 Disclosing trade secrets, business affairs or research

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because—
(a) disclosure of the information would disclose trade secrets of an agency or another person; or
(b) disclosure of the information—
(i) would disclose information (other than trade secrets) that has a commercial value to an agency or another person; and
(ii) could reasonably be expected to destroy or diminish the commercial value of the information; or
(c) disclosure of the information—
(i) would disclose information (other than trade secrets or information mentioned in paragraph (b) ) concerning the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of an agency or another person; and
(ii) could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on those affairs or to prejudice the future supply of information of this type to government.
(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply if what would be disclosed concerns only the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, an application for access to the document containing the information is being made.
(3) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because disclosure—
(a) would disclose the purpose or results of research, whether the research is yet to be started, has started but is unfinished, or is finished; and
(b) could reasonably be expected to have an adverse effect on the agency or other person by whom, or on whose behalf, the research is intended to be, is being, or was, carried out.
(4) However, subsection (3) does not apply if what would be disclosed concerns only research that is intended to be, is being, or was, carried out by the agency or other person by whom, or on whose behalf, an application for access to the document containing the information is being made.

8 Affecting confidential communications

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm if—
(a) the information consists of information of a confidential nature that was communicated in confidence; and
(b) disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the future supply of information of this type.
(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply in relation to deliberative process information unless it consists of information communicated by an entity other than—
(a) a person in the capacity of—
(i) a Minister; or
(ii) a member of the staff of, or a consultant to, a Minister; or
(iii) an officer of an agency; or
(b) the State or an agency.
(3) In this section—

"deliberative process information" means information disclosing—
(a) an opinion, advice or recommendation that has been obtained, prepared or recorded; or
(b) a consultation or deliberation that has taken place;
in the course of, or for the purposes of, the deliberative processes involved in the functions of government.

9 Affecting State economy

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because disclosure could—
(a) have a substantial adverse effect on the ability of government to manage the economy of the State; or
(b) expose any person or class of persons to an unfair advantage or disadvantage because of the premature disclosure of information concerning proposed action or inaction of the Assembly or government in the course of, or for, managing the economy of the State.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1) (a) , that paragraph applies to information the disclosure of which would reveal—
(a) the consideration of a contemplated movement in government taxes, fees or charges; or
(b) the imposition of credit controls.

10 Affecting financial or property interests of State or agency

(1) Disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause a public interest harm because disclosure could have a substantial adverse effect on the financial or property interests of the State or an agency.
(2) Subsection (1) applies only for 8 years after the information was brought into existence.



AustLII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback