Department Of Health Loses Legal Fight

Department Of Health Loses Legal Fight

South Australia Shadow Minister for Families, Communities & Housing Vickie Chapman

Chapman Wins FOI Case

Victor P Taffa

Today Judge Brebner delivered a judgement in the District Court dismissing the Department of Health’s appeal against Vickie Chapman MP.

Ms. Chapman had sought documents under FOI including correspondence between the Department of Health and the Chapley Retail Group who had received a preferential option to purchase part of the Glenside Hospital site.

The Department had refused to produce the critical documents and was later directed by the Ombudsman to do so. The Department and the Chapley Retail Group appealed.

The Department are now obliged to produce the documents as a result of the decision.

In particular, the judgement confirms that the Ombudsman was right. Although, on the appeal by the Chapleys (Ekaton Corporation Pty Ltd) was partially successful in having some further sentences and paragraphs in the documents deleted- exempt from disclosure- as they are subject to the “equitable obligation of confidence”.

“Today’s judgement is a decisive blow against the secrecy of Government.” Ms. Chapman said.

“South Australians deserve an open and transparent Government but the Rann Labor Government continually fails to be accountable to the Public.” Ms. Chapman said.

“The Government has done everything they could to avoid disclosing this material even though it relates to a public asset and public funds.”

“I have been waiting for over two years for this material and thank the Ombudsman’s office for their assistance.” Ms. Chapman said.