Hon. Ian Hunter, MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Minister for Water and the River Murray
Minister for Climate Change
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001
8 NOV 2016
I continue to seek the radiological monitoring data for South Australian drinking water storages for the period 1956 to 1963.
Previous requests for this information have resulted in the following State Government and agency reply documents as follows:
Letter 08/127/255, 3.2.1995, Jill Fitch, Radiation Protection Branch, South Australian Health Commission.
Letter MFI00876, 1/11/95, David Abbott, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Mr John Olsen, Minister for Industry, Manufacturing, Small Business & Regional Development, Minister for Infrastructure.
Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages.
Letter MFB 1195, BCN/AK15, 19/5/96, The Hon. John Olsen, FNIA, MP
Letter MFI 00876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive.
All of the preceding documents conveyed that the information I sought did not exist.
I refer also to the following documents addressed to me by the then Minister for Environment and Conservation, Mr. John Hill:
03EC2212 dated 11 June 2003
03EC2951 dated 19 June 2003
On 11 June 2003 Minister Hill advised me that in relation to my request for this information that:
“Your letter refers to a Freedom of Information application lodged by Dr Cross in January 2002. You should note that this application was submitted before the election of a Labor Government in South Australia in March 2002. At that time, the secrecy provisions of the Act prevented the release of the information requested by Dr. Cross. …..This government was elected to office with a commitment to do whatever is reasonable and appropriate to ensure there are no impediments to the public availability of information……” The then Minister then confirmed the election promise to specifically to change the “secrecy” provisions of section 19 of the Radiation Protection and Control Act, 1982.
This was done, the Minister informed me, on 5 December 2002.
I note that the State Government’s formal documents addressed to Dr Cross regarding the rejection of the Cross FOI Application and the of the rejection of the subsequent appeal both confirm that the documents do indeed exist.
This is in stark contrast to the State government documents addressed to me dated 3.2.1995, 1.11.1995, 19.5.1996 all advise me via Fitch, Abbott and Olsen that the documents I sought and still seek did not exist. In this regard Mr Olsen SA Water to supply me with documents for a later period which did and do exist. Letters Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive (with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages from 1964 to 1995), and Letter MFI 00876, SA Water Corp 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive confirm that with the supply of the documents covering the data from 1964 I now had all documents which exist.
I refer also to the letter to me from then Minister Hill dated 19 June 2003. In this letter the State Labor Government advises me that “Your matter is receiving attention and a response will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.” The letter is signed by Carolyne Lee, Office Manager for the Minister for Environment and Conservation.
How much longer will the State Government be in providing me with an answer to my requests? Can I see the documents that record the readings from the radiological monitoring of SA drinking water storages from 1956 until 1963 please?
I have been quite patient in this matter. I know how slowly the wheels of government move. As all South Australians do. I beg therefore, some sign that the State government can handle the truth in a spirit of openness worthy of a body which attempts to represent the will of the people, and which was elected on the basis of that promise of openness and democracy in public administration.
I find it highly lamentable and deplorable that the State Government has expressed views that convey the judgement, made by the current Premier recently, that the people of South Australia are ill informed on matters relating to nuclear undertakings and their consequences.
My experience provides much to contemplate in precisely these matters. I appreciate your eventual determination in relation to my request for the information I have been seeking from successive SA governments. I do not understand why it is taking what I perceive to be a very long time.
Post by tracked package with signature on delivery and delivery confirmation notice on 8 Nov 2016
Let’s see how many years this takes.