Courtesy of New Matilda
View the FOI officer’s decision and a list of the folios withheld.
New Matilda separately has published what it says is a leaked version of the contract, providing an opportunity for some interesting analysis of the FOI decision by those with the time and interest. However that copy is marked throughout as "Public Release Version" so it may be incomplete in some respects.
While acknowledging the Freedom of Information request raised some complex issues, the application was dated 14 December 2010, the response 2 September 2011. Some aspects are still to be determined. Presumably the absence of any reference to charges was because the request was not dealt with within time, or additional time granted by the Australian Information Commissioner. And some of the following claims are at least open to question.
The DIAC decision maker claimed exemption for information:
- that has a commercial value to Serco that would be destroyed or diminished- by revealing information supplied by Serco on a confidential basis that if disclosed would be used by competitors, and information about an unnamed second business entity presumably related to Serco (s 47-an absolute exemption, no public interest test),
- that would have a substantial adverse effect on the property interests of the Commonwealth-by revealing information about the value of department's assets throughout the detention network including replacement value for client accommodation, client amenities, necessary equipment and security status (s 47D-a conditional exemption subject also to a determination that disclosure on balance would be contrary to the public interest),
- that would have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of the agency- by revealing information that would hinder its ability to successfully conduct tender processes and to enter into contractual arrangements (s 47E-a conditional exemption),
- that would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about third parties-by revealing the names and positions of individuals within Serco (s 47F(1)-a conditional exemption).
And an observation that the new (well 12 months old) provisions in the act and government policy make a difference. Under the ancien regime I expect the whole thing would have been tightly held with the marking "Commercial in Confidence" being waved around to trump all other considerations. The decision letter refers specifically to the regard paid "to the Government's policy of promoting a "pro-disclosure" culture across government." I'm sure those inverted commas as they appear in the original aren't meant to convey anything other than a warm embrace of the idea in Immigration, an agency that has a history of struggle with FOI over the years.