The Office of the IGT operates so as to foster and maintain a safe and healthy working environment in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. During 2008-09, the Inspector-General received no accident and incident reports. No notices were given under sections 29, 46 and 47 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act) gives the general public legal access to government documents. Section 8 of the FOI Act requires the IGT to publish certain information in its annual report. Information about its organisation, functions and decision-making powers is contained in the body of this annual report.
Arrangements for outside participation
The FOI Act requires information regarding the arrangements for bodies or persons outside the Commonwealth to participate in the formulation of policy by the agency, or in the administration of the agency. A specific performance indicator for the IGT is broad-based community involvement in the identification of systemic issues in the administration of tax laws. As stated in Part 2, the IGT has chosen to widely consult with the community in setting his work program. The IGT also engages in consultation to inform the development of advice to the government. By being fully informed of the effects of findings and recommendations, the IGT can better advise the government on how the administration of the tax laws may be improved and minimise any unintended consequences. Consultation is most effective when stakeholders respect each other’s input and collaborate to develop workable solutions. However, consultation will not always result in consensus amongst stakeholders. The IGT takes a number of different approaches to liaison and consultation. Consultations on the work program of the IGT may be broad, such as written submissions responding to an issues paper or terms of reference for a review, or targeted, such as roundtable discussions with a small number of stakeholders or individual meetings with stakeholders. When engaging in community consultation, the IGT seeks to involve an appropriate range of stakeholders in consultations; ensures all participants have an opportunity to contribute to the consultation; endeavours to provide realistic timeframes for participants to contribute; acknowledges, respects and seeks to understand the views of participants, providing feedback on those views where possible; appreciates and maintains the confidential nature of discussions with stakeholders; and, provides advice to the Government that leads to the improved administration of the tax laws for the benefit of all taxpayers.
Categories of documents held by the IGT
The following categories of documents are held by the Office of the IGT:
- correspondence and working papers, including formal submissions, notes of meetings and files relating to a review;
- correspondence and databases used by staff for the purposes of communication with persons and organisations related to the general operations of the Office of the IGT;
- correspondence and working papers relating to the administration of the Office of the IGT, including personal records, organisation and staffing records, financial and expenditure records, advice and internal operations such as office procedures and instructions; and
- reference material, including press clippings and research papers.
Every six months the IGT also publishes an indexed list of files at www.igt.gov.au.
Documents open to public access
A detailed listing of IGT documents published during the year — reports, discussion papers, issues papers and annual reports — is available at www.igt.gov.au. The IGT has a policy of publishing all new issues papers and discussion papers on the Inspector-General’s website at the time of release. All reports to government will also be placed on the IGT’s website following the release of the report by the Minister or the tabling of the report in both Houses of Parliament.
Facilities for access of documents
If a member of the public requests a document and the IGT approves access, the IGT will provide copies of documents after the applicant pays any charges. Members of the public are also able to obtain access to available documents, by arrangement, at: Level 19, 50 Bridge Street SYDNEY NSW 2000
Freedom of information applications and initial contact points
Initial enquiries regarding access to IGT documents should be directed in writing to: Postal address: Inspector-General of Taxation GPO Box 551 SYDNEY NSW 2001 Procedures for dealing with Freedom of Information requests are detailed in section 15 of the FOI Act. A valid request must:
- be in writing;
- be accompanied by a payment of a $30 application fee;
- include the name and address of the person requesting the information; and
- be processed within 30 days of receipt.
Any request, pursuant to subsection 30A(1) of the FOI Act, that the application fee be waived should accompany requests. Some documents are exempt from public perusal under the FOI Act. Where documents are not accessible by the applicant, valid reasons will be provided. In accordance with section 54 of the FOI Act, an applicant may, within 30 days of receiving notification under the Act, seek an internal review of a decision to refuse a request. The prescribed fee of $40 should accompany the application. Decisions about accessibility of documents may also be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Freedom of information activity
The IGT received no requests for access to documents under the FOI Act in 2008-09.
No advertising or market research activities were undertaken during 2008-09 other than advertising for staff selection.
The Office of the IGT actively pursues measures to minimise waste and conserve energy. Timer switches control all general lighting in the office. The owner of the leased office premises has active energy, waste management and water conservation strategies. The IGT recycles paper and cardboard products.
No discretionary grant programs are administered by the IGT.