The decisions by the Minister to provide Parliament redacted versions of the business cases were reasonable and therefore appropriate.
The Minister properly sought advice from the Department of Health (Department) before responding to the requests. The Department recommended the Minister provide copies of the business cases with commercially sensitive information redacted. In making its recommendation, the Department sought advice from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Department of Treasury, WA Country Health Service, Mental Health Commission, and the SSO.
The Department concluded that the release of the entire business cases would provide an unfair advantage to the market when bidding for the redevelopment projects and this could diminish value for money outcomes for the Government.
We assessed the redacted information against two key criteria. Specifically:
Criterion 1 – Is the information sufficiently secret? Is it significant?
This criterion was met. We found most of the redacted information in the business cases was not generally known nor ascertainable using publicly available sources at the time the Minister declined to provide it. The redacted information included the breakdown of costs and timings, key deliverables, site plans and alternative procurement methods. This information has significant value in Government procurement processes.
Criterion 2 – Is it in the public interest for the information to remain confidential?
This criterion was met. We assessed the potential benefits and detriments of disclosure and concluded that release of the information at the time could have impacted planned procurement processes for the redevelopment projects and value for money outcomes for the Government.
We are aware that the procurement processes for the Geraldton Health Campus have commenced. Through these processes, the Department may decide to release some of the redacted information.