2010-11 Annual Report - Appendix 2 Freedom of Information

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Appendix 2 - Freedom of Information

Period 1 July 2010–30 April 2011

In compliance with section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the information below is the annual statement by ARPANSA in relation to its consultative arrangements, categories of documents maintained and procedures for access to documents covered by the FOI Act.

Organisation

ARPANSA is an Agency that is established under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act, 1998 (ARPANS Act). The office of the CEO of ARPANSA is created under that Act.

The CEO of ARPANSA is tasked with protecting the health and safety of people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation (ionising and non-ionising). Specifically, ARPANSA is responsible for:

  • regulating all Commonwealth entities, including departments, agencies and bodies corporate and Commonwealth contractors1, either dealing with radioactive material or apparatus or undertaking conduct in relation to nuclear installations or prescribed radiation facilities
  • providing advice to government and the community on radiation protection and nuclear safety
  • undertaking research and providing services in relation to radiation protection, nuclear safety and medical exposures to radiation
  • promoting uniformity of radiation protection and nuclear safety policy and practices across jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, the states and the territories.
Arrangements for Participation

Public Submissions

The licensing of nuclear facilities requires the CEO of ARPANSA to invite public submissions on a licence application. The Agency has established a public submission process in relation to such facilities. These include public meetings.

Other Community Consultation

ARPANSA publishes quarterly and annual reports and technical reports that are available to the general public through libraries, electronically or on request. The Agency’s Council and Committees also engage in public consultation in relation to matters under its consideration.

ARPANSA officers are available to address inquiries from members of the public regarding any of ARPANSA’s activities. Information brochures on particular topics are available on request, free of charge or on the ARPANSA website.

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State and Territory Government Arrangements

All states and territories are represented on ARPANSA’s Radiation Health Committee. In addition, ARPANSA supports and contributes to regular meetings of other radiation regulatory authorities. Reports prepared by ARPANSA are regularly forwarded to state and territory regulatory authorities for review and comment. As members of the Visiting Ships Panel (Nuclear), ARPANSA officers regularly liaise with state government departments responsible for the safe visits of nuclear powered warships to Australian ports.

Australian Government Arrangements

ARPANSA communicates with other Australian Government departments and agencies as required.

Categories of Documents Held

Available on request

  • ARPANSA’s quarterly and annual reports to Parliament
  • technical fact sheets
  • information about ARPANSA’s activities.

Documents relating to the decision making process

  • decisions and directions of the CEO
  • memoranda recommending decisions
  • deeds
  • legal contracts and formal arrangements, such as Memoranda of Understanding
  • minutes and submissions
  • applications
  • documents used by ARPANSA to assess applications
  • public submissions.

General correspondence

  • Ministerial briefs
  • speeches
  • conference papers
  • Parliamentary questions and answers
  • facsimiles, electronic messages
  • general records files.

Technical documents

  • scientific and technical reports
  • computer disks and print outs
  • plant and equipment operating manuals
  • records of audits inspections and reviews
  • maintenance, quality assurance and safety manuals
  • accounting records
  • photographs.

Health and safety related documents

  • accident reports as applicable
  • emergency response procedures.

Administration documents

  • organisation and establishment reports
  • contract documents
  • building plans
  • instructions, directives and orders
  • memoranda
  • bulletins and notices.
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Procedure and Initial Contact for Inquiries

The initial contact for inquiries in relation to freedom of information is the Freedom of Information Coordinator who is located in Miranda.

Requests for access to information under the FOI Act must be made in writing and addressed to ‘The FOI Coordinator’ and be accompanied by an application fee, currently, $30.00.

FOI queries may be made in the first instance to the FOI Coordinator, who may be contacted on (02) 9541 8301. The FOI Act provides for the reduction of the application fee or waiver of the fee in certain circumstances.

It should be noted that in many cases, it is not necessary to use FOI processes, as the information sought by the applicant may be readily available. If this is the case, the FOI Coordinator should be contacted in the first instance on 02 9541 8301.

All correspondence concerning FOI matters should be addressed to the FOI Coordinator, PO Box 650, MIRANDA NSW 1490 or by email to info@arpansa.gov.au.

If the person wishes to lodge a FOI request then they need to:

  • make a request in writing (s. 51(2)(a) of the FOI Act)
  • provide such information about the document(s) as is reasonably necessary to enable the document(s) to be identified
  • specify an address in Australia to which notices may be sent
  • send the request by post to ARPANSA
  • ensure that $30.00 accompanies the request.

Any request for remission of fees should accompany the initial application and state the reason for the request. Reasons may include financial hardship or that the request for information is in the public interest.

In accordance with ARPANSA’s procedures for processing FOI requests, the FOI Coordinator may, in some instances, need to consult applicants about access to documents under the FOI Act. Consultation is required:

  • to assist the applicant to identify, more specifically, documents which he or she has requested
  • to give to the applicant a reasonable opportunity for consultation before refusing a request on the grounds of insufficient information (s. 15(2) of the FOI Act) or if the request requires a substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources (s. 24(1) of the FOI Act), or
  • to notify the applicant of the charges and the deposit that is payable, or to discuss a request that the charges be reduced or waived.

ARPANSA Branch Heads are authorised under s 23 of the FOI Act, to make primary decisions on applications for access to documents held in their individual areas. Access is generally provided by way of copies of documents to the applicant.

In addition, the CEO of ARPANSA is authorised to make decisions on applications for internal review of primary decisions on FOI requests made to ARPANSA.

Further guidance as to how to make an application for access to documents under Freedom of Information can be obtained from www.dpmc.gov.au/foi/index.cfm.

Information about ARPANSA is available on the ARPANSA website (www.arpansa.gov.au) or from the Freedom of Information Coordinator.

Operation of the Freedom of Information Act

ARPANSA received two valid requests for access to information under the FOI Act during 2010-11.

Period 1 May 2011–30 June 2011

From 1 May 2011 agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. An agency plan showing what information is published in accordance with the IPS requirements is accessible from the ARPANSA website at www.arpansa.gov.au/ips.cfm.

1 As defined under section 13 of the ARPANS Act.

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