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CenITex FOI Reply to the Age

CenITex FOI Reply to the Age

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,233|Likes:
Published by Melissa Fyfe
CenITex FOI officer Ross Gilmour unsure of what the word "any" means. Also unsure of what “documenting the savings achieved” means.
CenITex FOI officer Ross Gilmour unsure of what the word "any" means. Also unsure of what “documenting the savings achieved” means.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Melissa Fyfe on Mar 16, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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24 February 2012The AgeInvestigations Unit655 Collins StreetDOCKLANDS VIC 3008
Attention: Ms Melissa Fyfe
Dear Ms Fyfe,
I refer to your letter dated 6 February 2012, received by CenITex on 10 February 2012, in which yousought access under the
Freedom of Information Act 
) to:
“1. Any reports, memos or briefs from
CenITex to the Department of Treasury and Finance, the State Services Authority or the Department of Premier and Cabinet documenting the savings 
achieved due to CenITex’s centralisation of IT services across the Victorian public sector in the
 period from 1 July 2011 to 1 February 2012.” 
As you are aware, the FOI Act creates a right of access to documents of an agency. Section 13 of the Act
states that the right of access is to be exercised “in accordance with this Act”. Section 17 of the
FOI Actsets out the procedural requirements to be satisfied for a valid request for access to documents to exist.One of those requirements is that the request must provide such information concerning the documentsyou seek as is reasonably necessary to enable the agency to identify the documents sought. That is, anapplicant must strive to define with as much precision as possible the documents sought in terms thatwould enable an appropriate officer of the agency to constructively search for those documents.If a request is ambiguous, unclear or otherwise ill defined, it does not comply with the FOI Act and neednot be processed. It should not be for the officers of the agency to be left guessing what documents youare actually seeking. In addition, a request must be for specific documents or groups of documents and notfor every document in a broad category. As VCAT has recently stated in relation to ambiguous requests:
“It is not the task of the responsible officer to try to tease out from such a reques
t what the applicantmight be getting at. Firstly, for the responsible officer to do that would be a failure on the part of thatresponsible officer to undertake the statutory task set by section 17(2), and secondly, theresponsible officer might inadvertently provide documents which are not what the applicant wasseeking which would inevitably lead to unnecessary and possibly protracted correspondencebetween the applicant and the responsible officer in an effort to try to work out what is constituted bythe request, and at worst the making of an unnecessary application for review.
 Zeqaj v Victoria Police
[2010] VCAT 1132 at [31].
PO Box 2750Melbourne Victoria 3000ABN 56 375 109 796

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