Staff Development & Training Centre v Sec Employment Workplace Relations & Small Business

Staff Development & Training Centre v Sec Employment Workplace Relations & Small Business

THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING CENTRE V. SEC, EMPLOYMENT,

WORKPLACE RELATIONS AND SMALL BUSINESS [2000] AATA 78

Commonwealth AAT – 8 February 2000

FACTS

Mr. and Mrs Van Putten, Directors of The Staff Development and Training Centre, had been engaged in commercial training and consultancy services for up to 14 years. For the last 9 years, 95% of its work had been as a result of contracts with the Department of Employment Education Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA). Staff Development had been trading profitably with an annual turnover of approximately $900,000. In 1997 DEETYA launched a tender for an employment services under the Job Services Network. The aim of the tender was the provision of employment services in different regions of Australia.

The Staff Development and Training Centre failed to secure a contract under the Job Network tender program and was unable to continue to employ its entire staff. The directors requested copies of the Tender Operation Manual of the Department which contained details relating to the financial viability requirements of the tender process.

ISSUES

Was the Operations Manual exempt under s36 (1) in that it would disclose an opinion, advice or recommendation, consultation or deliberation that had taken place, in the course of, or for the purpose of, the deliberative process involved in the functions of the agency?

Did the Operations Manual fall within the s9 (1) exception to s36 (1), a manual concerning a particular scheme, describing procedures to be followed by officers in relation to the scheme effecting the rights and obligations of persons?

Was the manual exempt from disclosure under s39 (1) in that the disclosure of the document would have a substantial adverse effect on the financial or property interests of the agency?

Would disclosure of the manual prejudice the effectiveness of test or audits of the agency, or have a substantial adverse effect on the operations of the agency (s40 (2)(a) and (d)?

FINDINGS

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