Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries

Cadastral claim files

Freedom of Information | 30 November -0001
Lands & Survey Department (L&S)

A request was made for cadastral land claim files relating to some 30 land registration blocks, dating from the 1970s.  The Department withheld access, claiming that compliance with the request would be an unreasonable diversion of resources. The Department also claimed several exemptions.

Since a public authority is not required to comply with a request if one of the conditions in section 9 of the FOI Law applies (including the unreasonable disclosure of resources), that argument must be considered before any exemptions are taken into consideration.  Due to the labour-intensiveness of the historical search which would have to be undertaken to identify each parcel of land in the 30 blocks, the Ombudsman agreed that complying with the request constituted an unreasonable diversion of resources, and the Department was not required to comply with the request.  The request was sent back to the Department for consultation with the applicant with a view to narrowing the request, as required under the FOI Regulations.