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Thursday, April 13, 2006

FOI ADT decision: diversion of resources

One interesting issue of general application from the ADT decision in Challita v Department of Education and Training (2006) NSWADT 109 were the Tribunal’s comments concerning what constitutes substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources for the purposes of Section 25(1)(a1) of the FOI Act.

The Tribunal said [para. 30] that an “agency’s resources” were those resources reasonably required to deal with an FOI application, consistent with attendance to other priorities. It did not mean the whole of the resources of a large department of agency or resources the agency might be able to obtain or would have if it filled established positions. It was satisfied that an estimate of 140 hours work to process an application would constitute substantial diversion of the limited resources available for dealing with FOI applications.

The decision largely upheld the Department’s determination except in respect of two documents about test results and the correlation of an IQ score for a child seeking a position in a selective high school.

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