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Monday, November 09, 2009

ABC lifts FOI game-50% refusal rate

Regular readers will know of our interest in the Freedom of Information doings of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Annual Report 2008-2009 recently tabled in Parliament includes this in Appendix 18:
"The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (“FOI Act”) gives the public the right to access documents held by the ABC. Part II of Schedule 2 of the FOI Act gives the ABC an exemption in relation to material that is program related. During the past year, the ABC received 10 requests for access to documents under the FOI Act. Two requests were granted, three were granted in part and five were refused."
An improvement on last year's almost 100% refusal rate (8 refusals, 1 part disclosure) but no information about how much reliance was placed on a very generous 2006 Federal Court decision that the exclusion was broad enough to cover any document that had an indirect (as well as a direct) relationship to program material.

10 requests in the year wouldn't have put any strain on the system. Maybe the FOI Act isn't needed when it comes to getting information from the ABC. In contrast the BBC received 1141 requests during the same period.

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