Summary of version changes to s 93A Guidelines

Links to archived s 93A Guidelines and a summary of version changes
PartVersionCurrency datesChanges and other comments
Part 1 – Intro to the FOI Act Original 24-Dec-2010 to 24-Oct-2011  
Part 1 – Intro to the FOI Act v1.1 25-Oct-2011 to 24-Jan-2013 Updated regarding commencement of the IPS and Norfolk Island amendments. Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 1 – Intro to the FOI Act v1.2 25-Jan-2013 to ...

Inclusion of new [1.8] to place greater emphasis on administrative access and releasing government information outside the formal requirement of the FOI Act.

Updated reference to Part 13 — Information publication scheme ([1.14]).

Part 2 – Scope of application of the FOI Act Original 24-Dec-2010 to 24-Oct-2011  
Part 2 – Scope of application of the FOI Act v1.1 25-Oct-2011 to 08-May-2012 Inserted footnote at [2.6] referring to ‘B’ and Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General [2011] AICmr 6. Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 2 – Scope of application of the FOI Act v1.2 9-May-2012 to 27-Mar-2013 New paragraph about the application of the FOI Act to Commonwealth Parliamentary departments ([2.5])
Part 2 – Scope of application of the FOI Act v1.3 28-Mar-2013 to 15-Sep-2013

Expanded discussion of the application of the FOI Act to the Official Secretary to the Governor-General following Kline v Official Secretary to the Governor-General [2012] FCAFC 184 ([2.7]).

Inclusion of Parliamentary Budget Office and Parliamentary Budget Officer in list of bodies that are not agencies for the purposes of the FOI Act and updated footnote reference to Fair Work Australia to the Fair Work Commission ([2.9])

Incorporation of footnote references to recent AAT and IC review decisions ([2.10] and [2.19])

Included a reference to the exemption of all agencies and ministers from the FOI Act in relation to private sessions before the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission ([2.12]).

Clarification that the authorised person makes a decision on behalf of the minister in the capacity of an agent rather than in their own right as an authorised person ([2.24]).

Part 2 – Scope of application of the FOI Act v1.4 16-Sep-2013 to ...

Updated to reflect application of the FOI Act to Parliamentary departments ([2.5]) and the courts ([2.6]) following the passage of the Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Act 2013, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Act 2013 and the Courts Legislation Amendment (Judicial Complaints) Act 2012.

Included the definition of ‘commercial activities’ as it applies to NBN Co Ltd ([2.11]).

Expanded discussion about the definition of an 'official document of a minister' ([2.19]–[2.24]).

Stylistic changes throughout document (most notably [2.9]–[2.10]).

Part 3 – Processing requests for access Original 22-Jul-2011 to 24-Oct-2011  
Part 3 – Processing requests for access v1.1 25-Oct-2011 to 24-Jan-2013 Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 3 – Processing requests for access v1.2 25-Jan-2013 to 27-Mar-2013

Addition of new paragraphs encouraging agencies to develop policies and processes that facilitate the disclosure of information to the public administratively ([3.3][3.5]).

Clarification that a request may be made by one person on behalf of another person or group, or by an organisation (such as a law firm or non-government organisation) on behalf of a client or member ([3.6], [3.36][3.39]). See also the Information Commissioner's statement Who qualifies as a 'person' eligible to make a request under s 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982? (January 2013) (PDF).

Inclusion of footnote reference to Agency resource 14: Access to government information – administrative access schemes ([3.23]).

Expanded discussion of requirements when making an FOI request by email or fax and referencing s 14A of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 ([3.28]–[3.29]).

Incorporation of footnote references to IC review decisions: 'G' and Australian Taxation Office [2012] AICmr 9 and 'H' and Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2012] AICmr 10 ([3.54], fn 14).

Part 3 – Processing requests for access v1.3 28-Mar-2013 to 5-Mar-2014.

Clarification that the processing period commences on the day after the day the request is received ([3.31])

Removed inaccurate footnote reference to Chu v Telstra Corporation Limited (2005) FCA 1730 ([3.58]).

Updated to included references to Parliamentary Budget Office documents (s 45A) ([3.89]).

Part 3 – Processing requests for access v1.4 6-Mar-2014 to...

Clarification that administrative access schemes involving personal information must comply with the minimum requirements of Australian Privacy Principles 12 and/or 13 [3.5]. Other minor updates to reflect amendments to the Privacy Act 1988.

Part 4 – Charges for providing access Original 4-Feb-2011 to 24-Oct-2011  
Part 4 – Charges for providing access v1.1 25-Oct-2011 to 27-Mar-2013 Updated regarding commencement of the IPS ([4.54])
Part 4 – Charges for providing access v1.2 28-Mar-2013 to 10-Dec-2013

Updated fee payable to the AAT for an application for review of a decision of the Information Commissioner ([4.8])

Expanded discussion of collecting charges and whether a charge is a debt due to the Commonwealth ([4.30]).

Clarification that a decision maker does not have to consider the content of a document where it is clear from the applicant's request that, if such a document exists, the Act does not apply to it ([4.53]).

Discussion of good administrative practice when notifying an internal review applicant of an affirmed charges decision ([4.64]-[4.66]).

Incorporation of footnote references to IC review decisions ([4.48], [4.53] and [4.56]).

Part 4 – Charges for providing access v1.3 11-Dec-2013 to 5-Mar-2014

Revised Tables 1 and 2 to use language more consistent with the FOI Act and to correct inaccurate references to certain provisions and applicable charges.

Updated discussion about the Information Commissioner’s February 2012 Review of Charges under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and Dr Allan Hawke AC’s review of the FOI Act and AIC Act ([4.11]).

Updated discussion about the Privacy Act to reflect reforms that commence on 12 March 2014 ([4.14]).

Noted that search and retrieval time does not include time by agency officers other than the decision maker discussing and reviewing the results of search and retrieval activities ([4.33]).

Identified principles from the public interest test in s 11A(5) that can also be applied in the test under s 29(5) ([4.60]).

Discussed reducing or waving a charge when an applicant responds to a charges notice by reducing the scope of their request ([4.62]).

Included advice about providing administrative access to information as a means of reducing an applicable charge ([4.65]).

Part 4 – Charges for providing access v1.4 6-Mar-2014 to...

Update to the definition of personal information to align with amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 [4.13].

Part 5 – Exemptions Original 25-Feb-2011 to 24-Oct-2011  
Part 5 – Exemptions v1.1 25-Oct-2011 to 27-Mar-2013

Reference to ‘informal’ request rather than ‘valid’ request (paragraph 5.1). Inclusion of references to ss 47E(a) and 47E(b) ([5.12]).

Updated regarding commencement of the IPS ([5.133]).

Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.

Part 5 – Exemptions v1.2 28-Mar-2013 to 12-Sep-2013

Inclusion of reference to the Parliamentary Budget Office documents exemption (s 45A) ([5.6], [5.44], [5.154]–[5.163])

Incorporation of footnote references to IC review decisions throughout (paragraphs [5.53], [5.94], [5.110], [5.128], [5.134], [5.139], [5.181]).

Part 5 – Exemptions v1.3 13-Sep-2013 to ...

Removed former [5.40] about consulting with foreign governments or international organisations about information that is already in the public domain, and expanded the renumbered [5.40] to note that the final access decision lies with the decision maker, not the foreign source consulted.

Updated discussion of the Cabinet documents exemption and consultation with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet ([5.48]–[5.49], [5.60], [5.69]).

Expanded discussion of legal professional privilege exemption to reflect latest court decisions and provide greater guidance about when litigation is said to be anticipated ([5.114]–[5.126]).

Amended Parliamentary Budget Office documents exemption discussion to reflect the passage of the Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Act 2013 ([5.157]).

Revised discussion about when information has commercial value ([5.188]–[5.191]).

Incorporation of new footnote references to IC review decisions throughout ([5.32], [5.35]–[5.36], [5.84], [5.88]–[5.89], [5.118], [5.134], [5.143], [5.191]).

Stylistic changes throughout document (most notably [5.45]).

Part 6 – Conditional Exemptions Original 4-Mar-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 6 – Conditional Exemptions v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 27-Mar-2013

Inserted reference to Carver and Fair Work Ombudsman [2011] AICmr 5 at [6.25] and text at [6.63].
Updated cross-reference to Part 8 of FOI Guidelines at [6.49].
Inserted text at [6.49] and [6.84].
Inclusion of references to ss 47E(c) and 47E(d) at [6.87] and [6.92].
Updated regarding Norfolk Island amendments.
Updated regarding commencement of the IPS ([6.57]).

Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 6 – Conditional Exemptions v1.2 28-Mar-2013 to ...

Incorporation of footnote references to IC review decisions throughout ([6.25], [6.29], [6.32], [6.62], [6.68], [6.78], [6.120], [6.127], [6.166], [6.184], [6.196]).

Removal of reference to Department of Social Security v Dyrenfurth (1988) 80 ALR 533 ([6.142]).

Amended description of Searle Australia Pty Ltd v Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Department of Community Services and Health (1992) 108 ALR 163 to more accurately reflect ‘serious criminality' rather than ‘unlawful conduct' ([6.166]).

Part 7 – Amendment and annotation of personal records Original 14-Apr-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 7 – Amendment and annotation of personal records v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 5-Mar-2014

Amendment of references to FOI Act ([7.40] and [7.41]).

Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 7 – Amendment and annotation of personal records v1.2 6-Mar-2014 to...

 Revision of introductory paragraphs to align with amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 and insertion of a new section – ‘Comparison of FOI Act procedures and APP 13’ [7.6]-[7.10].

Other updates throughout to reflect Privacy Act amendments, including to the sections on the meaning of incorrect, incomplete, misleading and out of date [7.17]-[7.22] and discussion of annotation [7.64].
Revision of ‘Assessing the evidence’ [7.40]-[7.46] and ‘Consequences of amendment’ [7.48] to reflect recent IC review decisions.

Revisions of [7.27]-[7.29] and [7.77]-[7.78] to reflect the requirements of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999.

Clarification that while the FOI Act does not require agencies to acknowledge receipt of amendment request, it is good administrative practice to do so [7.81].

Part 8 – Decisions on FOI requests Original 25-Oct-2011 to 27-Mar-2013  
Part 8 – Decisions on FOI requests v1.1 28-Mar-2013 to ...

Amendment to include references to Parliamentary Budget Office documents (s 45A) ([8.45]–[8.46]).

Updated reference to the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 and calculating the processing period ([8.71]–[8.75]).

Expanded discussion of extensions of time provisions to the processing timeframes for deemed decisions following O'Donoghue v Australian Information Commissioner (No. 3) [2012] FCA 1244.

Updated to note that, where third party review rights apply only to some of the documents falling under an access grant decision, the FOI applicant should be given access to the remaining documents as soon as practicable ([8.97])

Amendment to clarify when third parties may apply for internal or IC review ([8.100]–[8.104]).

Part 9 – Internal agency review of decisions Original 15-Mar-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 9 – Internal agency review of decisions v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 24-Jan-2013

New paragraph clarifying guidance regarding extension of time ([9.25]).
Paragraph numbers from [9.25] renumbered.
Clarification of third party consultation at [9.26].
Updated regarding Norfolk Island amendments.

Stylistic changes to references to FOI Guidelines.
Part 9 – Internal agency review of decisions v1.2 25-Jan-2013 to 12-Sep-2013

Amendment to clarify when third parties may apply for internal review ([9.12][9.13]).

Part 9 – Internal agency review of decisions v1.3 13-Sep-2013 to ...

Inserted reference to the OAIC internal review FOI agency resource ([ 9.8]).

Amended internal review decision making principles to clarify that decision makers can rely on searches or consultation previously undertaken, as opposed to the previous reference to ‘work undertaken’ ([9.32]).

Rewrote discussion about notifying the applicant of an internal review decision to replace repetition of discussion about s 26 notices from Part 8 of the Guidelines with considerations specific to internal review ([9.35]–[9.36]).

Stylistic changes throughout document.

Part 10 – Review by the Information Commissioner Original 24-Dec-2010 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 10 – Review by the Information Commissioner v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 24-Jan-2013

Addition of guidance regarding who should notify the FOI applicant if a third party has sought IC review of an access grant decision ([10.78]).
Updated regarding Norfolk Island amendments.

Stylistic changes to references to FOI guidelines.
Part 10 – Review by the Information Commissioner v1.2 25-Jan-2013 to 27-Mar-2013

Clarification as to when third parties may apply for IC review ([10.9]).

Inserted text noting that the Information Commissioner and the Inspector-General Intelligence and Security have entered into a memorandum of understanding ([10.55]).

Part 10 – Review by the Information Commissioner v1.3 28-Mar-2013 to ...

Amendment to include references to Parliamentary Budget Office documents exemption (s 45A) ([10.69], [10.72], [10.74]).

Part 11 – Complaints and investigations Original 24-Dec-2010 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 11 – Complaints and investigations v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to ... Stylistic changes to references to FOI Guidelines.
Part 12 – Vexatious applicant declarations Original  24-Dec-2010 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 12 – Vexatious applicant declarations v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to ... Stylistic change to references to FOI Guidelines.
Part 13 – Information Publication Scheme Original 21-Apr-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 13 – Information Publication Scheme v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 28-Jun-2012

Updated regarding commencement of the IPS ([13.1] and [13.12]).
Updated regarding the publication of the Principles on Open Public Sector Information ([13.10]).

Stylistic changes to references to FOI Guidelines.
Part 13 – Information Publication Scheme v1.2 29-Jun-2012 to 24-Jan-2013

Stylistic changes throughout document.

Added information about the OAIC's IPS compliance review program ([13.24] and [13.132]).

Provided clarification in regard to the listing of officers appointed under statute to a position or role in an agency on the agency's IPS entry ([13.51]).

Removed reference to 2011 annual reports ([13.54]).

Included advice about consultation with affected staff where potential harm could arise from publishing their names in information released under s 8(2)(g) ([13.64]).

Added footnote referring agencies to the Information Commissioner's Guidance for agency websites ([13.82]).

Amended references to guidance from other agencies referred to in the section on ‘Other information to be published under the IPS' ([13.106]-[13.111]).

Updated reference providing examples of alert services agencies may provide on their IPS entries ([13.116])

Rearranged the references to guidance from other agencies about publishing information on the web ([13.117])

Provided information about agencies' current IPS statistical reporting obligations as of July 2011 and removed references to superseded proposed reporting obligations ([13.137]).

Amended to reference the latest version of the Attorney-General Department's Intellectual Property Manual ([13.140]).

Part 13 – Information Publication Scheme v1.3 25-Jan-2013 to ...

Stylistic changes to website references throughout document.

References to the Guidance for agency websites: ‘Access to information' web page updated and included throughout document, including the annexed IPS agency plan template.

Expanded discussion of IPS website publication requirements to include reference to the ‘Access to information' icon and links to other agency online content ([13.116]).

Part 14 – Disclosure log Original 21-Apr-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Part 14 – Disclosure log v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 28-Jun-2012

Addition of guidance regarding publication of telephone numbers of officers and publication of edited versions of documents on the disclosure log ([14.10] and [14.11]).

Paragraph numbers from [14.10] renumbered.

Updated regarding Norfolk Island amendments ([14.18], [14.19], [14.21]).

Updated regarding commencement of the IPS ([14.59]).

Stylistic changes to references to FOI Guidelines.
Part 14 – Disclosure log v1.2 29-Jun-2012 to 24-Jan-2013

Stylistic changes and rearrangement of content throughout document – key changes discussed below.

Included reference to Disclosure Log Determination No. 2011-1 (Exempt Documents) ([14.13]).

Added more discussion about what constitutes ‘unreasonable publication' on the disclosure log ([14.15]–[14.19]).

As part of the above update, included advice about consultation with affected staff where potential harm could arise from publishing their names in information released on the disclosure log ([14.18]).

Discussed in greater detail considerations about the timing of disclosure log publication ([14.21]–[14.27]).

Updated to state the Information Commissioner's preference to release the same information provided to applicants through the disclosure log wherever it is practicable to do so, and to make the information available for direct download ([4.30]–[14.31]).

Included additional discussion about the copyright status of agency disclosure logs and referred to the latest version of the Attorney-General Department's Intellectual Property Manual ([14.38]).

Expanded discussion of accessibility of online content as it applies to the disclosure log ([14.60]–[14.63]).

Updated regarding statistics agencies and ministers will be required to provide the OAIC about their disclosure log activity ([14.71]).

Part 14 – Disclosure log v1.3 25-Jan-2013 to 5-Mar-2014

Stylistic changes to website references throughout document.

Expanded discussion on supplementing the disclosure log where the information originated from internal working papers or other documents not representing the views of the agency, minister or the Government ([14.36]).

Updated discussion of disclosure log discoverability to include reference to the revised Guidance for agency websites: ‘Access to information' web page ([14.53]).

Part 14 – Disclosure log v1.4 6-Mar-2014 to...

Minor updates to align with new disclosure log determination [14.13]-[14.17].

Minor amendments to [14.71] and footnote to fix out-of-date annual reporting discussion.

Part 15 – Reporting Original 15-Mar-2011 to 10-May-2011 Originally published as Part 14.
Part 15 – Reporting v1.1 11-May-2011 to 9 May 2012 Renumbered and updated regarding the IPS and s 9 statements.
Part 15 – Reporting v1.2 10-May-2012 to 5-Mar-2014 Updated annual report requirements and removal of transitional arrangements for 2010–11.
Part 15 – Reporting v1.3 6-Mar-2014 to... Deletion of former [15.3] relating to reporting of the operation of the Privacy Act 1988 and out-of-date reference to the ‘Personal Information Digest’.
Glossary Original 4-Feb-2011 to 27-Oct-2011  
Glossary v1.1 28-Oct-2011 to 5-Mar-2014 Terms added.
Glossary v1.2
6-Mar-2014 to... Terms added and superseded terms removed.
Guidance for agency websites Original 23-Mar-2011 to 11-Sept-2012 Guidance superseded (see Guidance for agency websites: 'Access to information' web page).

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