FOI in Australia: FOI refusals increase by 30%

New figures show that the number of FoI requests granted only on a partial basis has also jumped by almost 30 per cent.

The figures come just days after the High Court ruled that Treasurer Peter Costello and other ministers had the right to impose secrecy if they felt disclosure would not be in the "public interest".

According to official numbers from the Attorney General's Department just 4.5 per cent of requests made in 1996-97 were refused. Last year, that percentage had jumped to 6.4 per cent.
In 1996-97 22,616 FoI requests were granted in full and 1272 were refused.

Last year, a total of 26,663 were granted and 2362 were knocked back. The number of requests granted in part had jumped from 4671 in 1996 to 7802 last year.

The percentage of requests granted in full has fallen from 79 per cent in 1996-97 to 72 per cent last year. During the same period delays in issuing the information have grown dramatically and initial bills imposed on FoI requests have increased significantly.

Labour's public accountability spokesman Kelvin Thomson said Mr Costello and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, who has blocked his request for AWB information, were the Boston Stranglers of FoI.

Refused Freedom of Information requests up 30pc (, 12 September 2006)