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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 276

(Question No. 1400)

Senator Calvert asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 20 May 1994:

  (l) Were the costs for the freedom of information (FOI) request by Mr Phil Cleary for April to June $11,744; if not, what were the costs.

  (2) What does this FOI request cover.

  (3) What other costs have been incurred in relation to this FOI request.

  (4) Will there be any further costs associated with this FOI request.

  (5) Was Mr Cleary charged for any time spent on his FOI request, if not, why not.

  (6) What is the breakdown of the costs involved with Mr Cleary's FOI request.

Senator Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's questions:

  (1) The cost of legal services from the Australian Government Solicitor's Office who acted for the Department in relation to Mr Cleary's FOI appeal to the AAT, including costs for Queen's Counsel, was $15,795.00 for the period 1 April to 30 June 1993 (actual cost as advised by the ACT Office of the Australian Government Solicitor; a detailed breakdown of the total legal costs is provided in the answer to part (6) of the question below).

  (2) Mr Cleary sought access to the following documents under the FOI Act:

   "1. The economic forecasts prepared by the Joint Economic Forecasting Group (JEFG) following the March quarter national accounts in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

   "2. Preliminary forecasts prepared by the Treasury when details of the June quarter national accounts became available in each of the above mentioned years."

  (3) There is no record of the internal costs borne by Treasury in relation to this FOI request but, for the reasons indicated in (5) below, the costs in coming to the primary decision would have been negligible. The full legal costs incurred by the Department are reflected in (6) below.

  (4) No further costs are anticipated in relation to this request.

  (5) Mr Cleary paid the following FOI fees to the Department on the dates indicated:

  Primary Application Fee: 26 August 1992, $30.00

  Internal Review Fee: 22 October 1992, $40.00

  No charges were imposed by the Department for processing Mr Cleary's request because the applicant had requested a waiver and because little time was needed to assess and respond to the primary request.

  (6) The Department incurred a total cost of $22,043 from the Australian Government Solicitor's Office in connection with Mr Cleary's application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The breakdown of those costs was as follows:

Period covered by Invoice AGS Invoice Date Amount Paid

21/12/92—31/12/92 1 February 1993 $330.00

8/12/93—15/1/93 2 February 1993 $2,673.00

9/3/93—16/4/93 30 April 1993 $1,041.00

16/4/93—15/5/93 4 June 1993 $2,283.00

18/5/93—17/6/93 22 June 1993 $8,553.00

25/5/93—10/6/93 24 June 1993 $4,023.00

18/6/93—22/7/93 22 July 1993 $908.00

5/8/93—18/8/93 27 August 1993 $2,232.00

Total Paid $22,043.00