January 2014

Sometimes a person supplies information to the Gene Technology Regulator (the Regulator) and does not want the information to be made public.

The person who supplied the information may apply to the Regulator for a declaration that certain information is CCI.

The information may have been provided to the Regulator as part of:

  • an application for a licence
  • an application for accreditation or certification
  • a notification of a Notifiable Low Risk Dealing
  • a submission to the Regulator.

The above listed information is illustrated in this diagram to explain what may be part of the information to apply to the Regulator for declaration of certain information as CCI.

If the Regulator declares information to be CCI, then that information must not:
  • be released for public consultation
  • appear on the Record of GMO and GM product dealings
  • be accessible by way of a request for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
However, the Regulator may disclose the information:
  • to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority, a state agency or the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee if they are carrying out duties or functions under the legislation
  • by order of a court
  • with the consent of the person who applied to have the information treated as CCI.

How does the Regulator consider a CCI application?

The Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act) sets out criteria for the Regulator to use to make a decision on CCI applications (Section 185).

The Regulator must be satisfied that the CCI information set out in the application is:
  • a trade secret
  • other information that has commercial or other value that would be, or could reasonably be, expected to be destroyed or diminished if the information were disclosed or
  • other information that concerns the lawful commercial or financial affairs of a person, organisation or undertaking; and if it were disclosed, could unreasonably affect that person, organisation or undertaking.
The Regulator may refuse to declare that information is CCI, even if the criteria above have been met, if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the prejudice that the disclosure would cause.

CCI relating to the location of GMO field trial sites

Information about the location of field trial sites is treated differently to other potential CCI.

Under the Act, information relating to the location of a GMO field trial cannot be declared CCI unless disclosing that information is likely to cause significant damage to the health and safety of people, the environment or property.

If the Regulator declares the location of a field trial as CCI, the Regulator must make a statement of reasons publicly available.

This statement must include the reasons why:
  • the Regulator was satisfied that the information met criteria for declaration of CCI
  • the Regulator was not satisfied that the public interest in disclosure of the information outweighed the prejudice that the disclosure would cause
  • the Regulator was satisfied that significant damage to the health and safety of people, and the environment or property would be likely to occur if the locations were disclosed.

Rights of review of a decision to refuse a CCI application

If the Regulator refuses an application for treatment of information as CCI, the Regulator must treat the information as CCI until any review rights under the legislation are exhausted.

Part 12, Division 2, of the Act explains these rights.

Apply for a declaration of CCI

You can apply for declaration of CCI by using the forms online.

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