NSW Government ‘unjustified’ in charging commuters for Temporary Transport Plan

Restore Inner West Line & Save T3 Bankstown Line has achieved an important victory against the NSW Government with the Information Commissioner finding that Sydney Metro has made a number of unjustified decisions in handling Freedom of Information (GIPA request)

In February 2017, Sydney Metro announced that the Temporary Transport Plan for the T3 Bankstown Line shutdown would be released several years beforehand for public consultation. Exact dates for the shutdown were not announced until late 2019 nor was the Temporary Transport Plan released to time frame of Sydney Metro’s prior commitment

A GIPA request was lodged in 2019 about the Temporary Transport Plan. But despite the major impact of the T3 Bankstown Line shutdown (24 December 2019 – 5 January 2020) and the NSW Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the Sydenham – Bankstown Conversion, Sydney Metro decided that there lacked benefit to the public to access such information

An External Review into Sydney Metro’s handling of the GIPA request was lodged in September 2019 with the NSW Information Commissioner handing down its findings on 17 January 2020. The External Review finds that Sydney Metro imposed excessive processing fees and failed to properly take into account the legitimate public interest considerations for reducing the total cost of the GIPA request

The Information Commissioner “recommends under section 93 of the GIPA Act that the Agency (Sydney Metro) make a new decision in relation to the decisions found not to be justified”

Given that the GIPA [Government Information (Public Access)] Act 2009 includes a provision for a 50% discount in processing charges if there are demonstrated special benefits to the public and the Information Commissioner’s report, Sydney Metro in effect owes us at least $300

Evidence was also presented at the NSW Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the Sydenham – Bankstown Conversion higlighting other examples of the NSW Government’s handling of GIPA in contrary to the spirit of Freedom of Information

Restore Inner West Line & Save T3 Bankstown Line thanks the NSW Information and Privacy Commissioner for its important non-partisan work in promoting open government

We would also like to thank our supporters and everyone who has donated to our Freedom of Information (GIPA) investigation campaigns

We call on the NSW Government to improve transparency and to genuinely consult the community about the future of train services for current Bankstown Line commuters