08 July 2010

AAT FOIA decision released (Vasta and Anor and Civil Aviation Authority)

Vasta and Anor and Civil Aviation Safety Authority
[2010] AATA 499; 6/7/2010; Senior Member PW Taylor SC

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION - exemptions - documents relating to aircraft maintenance and safety claimed to be exempt under sections 40, 43 and 45 of the FOI Act - whether disclosure could prejudice future supply of information to agency - whether disclosure of documents could reasonably be expected to unreasonably affect an organisation's lawful business, commercial or financial affairs - distinction between mandatory and voluntary disclosure of information to agency - whether certain reports can be characterised as interim reports - scope of requests and adequacy of identification of documents responsive to request - costs - in respect to the first application the decision under review is set aside and in respect to the second application the decision under review is varied and remitted

Held: In the Vasta application (2008/0261): Set aside the decision under review. Substitute a decision that the documents listed in the accompanying "Schedule: Exempt Documents Claim - Vasta Request" are not exempt documents.

In the McKinnon application (2008/2385): the decision under review is varied as follows:

(a) the documents listed in the accompanying "Schedule: Exempt Documents Claim - McKinnon Request" are not exempt documents where the words "NOT EXEMPT" appear in the Decision column in the Schedule (subject to deletion of the identifying information referred to in paragraph 127);

(b) the McKinnon application be remitted pursuant to s 42D of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 to CASA to identify any additional responsive documents, in the light of the matters contained in paragraphs 132 to 134 of the Reasons for Decision.

The proceedings are adjourned for the purpose of considering further submissions CASA wishes to make on the question of any recommendation about costs. If CASA does not wish to address any further submission, in accordance with FOI Act s 66, recommend to the Attorney General that costs of each Applicant's be paid by the Commonwealth.

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