Can a request be transferred to or by a minister?
Yes. Section 16 of the FOI Act deals with transfers by ‘agencies’, and s 16(6) provides that a reference to an agency includes a minister. See Part 3 of the Guidelines.
What happens if an agency or minister refuses to accept a transferred request?
The Information Commissioner expects agencies and ministers to agree to accept a transfer, unless there are exceptional circumstances. If the second agency refuses to receive a request, the agency seeking to transfer the request should write to the applicant explaining that they do not hold such documents and that the applicant may wish to contact the other agency. See Part 3 of the Guidelines.
Can a request be transferred after there is a deemed refusal?
Yes. However, the transferring agency should leave it to the receiving agency to apply to the OAIC for an extension under s 15AC as this extension can only be granted once. It is also open to the applicant to make a new request to the other agency. See s 16 of the FOI Act and Part 3 of the Guidelines.