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TasPorts – Right to Information

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Tags: TasPorts, Right to Information

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, the TasPorts annual report notes that two applications for assessed for disclosure under the Right to Information Act 2009 were received. This may be through you, minister. I don't expect you'd have your hands on this kind of information immediately. What was the subject of these applications and what determination was made on them?

Mr FERGUSON - I will defer to our Chief Executive.

Mr DONALD - I think we had two formal applications, as you rightly put, for assessed for disclosure were received and accepted for decision and decided. My recollection is that we did provide information.

Ms O'CONNOR - With respect, Mr Donald, my question was: what was the subject of those right to information applications and what determinations were made?

To avoid wasting the committee's time while we are waiting for more information, the reason I make this point is that it's Government policy for RTI determinations to be published; and we can't find the TasPorts RTI requests or determinations. What happens usually is that those RTI determinations are made public on a Government website. There doesn't seem to be any space in the TasPorts website for RTI requests.

Mr FERGUSON - We are having conversations here but I think we have some knowledge but at least one of the two it potentially involves a circumstance where the applicant to the RTI would most likely not wish for the information to be released. I think we can, however, answer the question as to the nature of the material that was being applied for and provide that to the committee on notice.

Ms O'CONNOR - This is now my second question, but anyway. The first question was the nature of them and what was the determination. Sometime was spent finding an answer to that question, during which I explained why the question was being asked - I didn't ask another question. It's Government policy that all RTI decisions are published and made available on a website.

So, my second question to the board and potentially the CEO is: why haven't those RTI requests been published, and why isn't there a space on the TasPorts website to make that information available, given Government policy?

Mr DONALD - I will deal with the latter one first, we will certainly look into that. It's certainly not our intention not to comply with Government policy. We will, if appropriate, make the necessary arrangements to immediately change that. As the minister indicated, the nature of at least one of those two is such that I think the individual would elect to not have that information made public.

Ms O'CONNOR - I will come back to you about that one offline and follow up on that.

Mr FERGUSON - We could take that group of questions on notice, in terms of the generality of public disclosure and the issues of the website allowing RTIs to be proactively published.