Section 6AA - Act not to apply to access to certain documents of Office of Victorian Information Commissioner
Extract of legislation
|6AA||Act not to apply to access to certain documents of Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner|
|This Act does not apply to access to a document that is in the possession of––|
|(a)||the Information Commissioner or the Public Access Deputy Commissioner; or|
|(b)||a member of staff of the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner; or|
|(c)||a contractor, agent or other person acting for or on behalf of the Information Commissioner or the Public Access Deputy Commissioner––|
|to the extent that the document is the subject of, or discloses information that relates to––|
|(d)||a review under Part VI; or|
|(e)||a complaint to the Information Commissioner under Part VIA; or|
The Act does not apply to OVIC review, complaint, or investigation documents
The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is an agency subject to the Act, meaning FOI requests may be made to OVIC for access to documents in its possession.
This means OVIC cannot provide access to documents that are the subject of, or disclose information relating to, FOI reviews, complaints, or investigations.
The Applicant made two FOI requests to the University of Melbourne, which the University did not respond to on time. The Applicant made delay complaints to OVIC, which OVIC accepted. After some time, the Applicant told OVIC they received decisions from the University and the complaints were resolved.
The Applicant made an FOI request to OVIC for access to communications about the complaint.
OVIC decided the access provisions did not apply to the complaint documents because of section 6AA, and refused the request.
At the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Senior Member Dea found OVIC was correct to decide that the requested documents fell within section 6AA. Senior Member Dea considered the terms of the request, the fact that OVIC accepted the FOI complaints under section 61B, and that OVIC had decided to make preliminary inquiries and engage in consultation under section 61G. The Senior Member was satisfied this process fell within Part VIA.
Senior Member Dea dismissed the application under section 75(1)(a) of the VCAT Act on the grounds that it was misconceived. Because of section 6AA of the FOI Act, the application was bound to fail and in that sense was hopeless.
Section 6AA does not apply to a document in the possession of an agency or Minister, even if that document is the subject of or discloses information relating to an OVIC review, complaint, or investigation. This is because section 6AA only applies to a document in the possession of OVIC. This means an agency or Minister cannot rely on section 6AA to exclude documents from the Act.