Senator to take legal action over Freedom of Information refusal to supply information on nuclear waste plan

Rex Patrick to ask SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal to reverse nuclear FoI refusal

An SA Senator will ask a court to decide whether his call for information on a nuclear waste facility should have been granted.  Advertiser –Matt Smith, December 16, 2020 – 

 South Australian senator Rex Patrick will tackle State Government lawyers after a Freedom of Information request concerning a nuclear waste facility was refused.

He will fight to overturn the decision in the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal over what he describes as “a lack of transparency”.

Senator Patrick, pictured, said his FOI request was met with a “highly unusual” reminder from the Crown Solicitor’s office that if he were to fight the decision and lose he would be liable for costs.

He had asked for correspondence between Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and the Federal Government concerning the establishment of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in SA.

“FOI in SA is a farce. Late responses, cavalier exemption claims, delayed review processes and now threats if you push a request beyond the control of the very government department seeking to hide information,” he said.

A government spokesman said: “While it would not be appropriate to comment on matters currently before SACAT, it’s worth noting that the tribunal and only the tribunal makes a determination on whether costs are awarded, and can do so if satisfied that there are statutory grounds to do so.

No decision has been made in this matter and, as such, no application for costs has been, or can be, made at this time.”

It was revealed this week that reviews of FOI requests are taking more than six months to complete.  SA Senator Rex Patrick takes nuclear FOI ‘farce’ to court | The Advertiser (

See Senator Rex Patrick’s Face Book page post:


In response to a request for transparency, Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has outrageously instructed the Crown Solicitor to threaten me with costs.

Everything the SA Government does it does for public purpose and using SA taxpayer’s money. As such, South Australians are entitled to see all that the State Government does, admittedly with some exceptions.

I asked Minister van Holst Pellekaan’s office to provide me with correspondance between the State and Federal Government on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba, using SA Freedom of information laws. At first he failed to respond to the request in the timeframe required by the law, then he made a decision that hid (presumably embarrassing) information from me.

I have asked SACAT, the State’s independent umpire, to review the Minister’s decision. Minister van Holst Pellekaan has now threatened me with “costs” if I proceed. That prompts two questions: 1) what’s he trying to hide and 2) if he’s prepared to threaten a senator seeking transparency, how would he treat a regular South Australian that reasonably requested information from him?


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