Environment Victoria made a freedom of information request on December 15 last year. We sought documents relating to the state government's proposed allocation of billions of tonnes of coal to private companies, in particular correspondence with a company called Exergen who are the most aggressive lobbyists for a new coal allocation (the last coal allocation failed dismally). We also sought policy advice and correspondence between Energy Minister Michael O’Brien and Department of Primary Industries on decisions to make wind farms harder to build in Victoria and decisions to slash support for households and businesses who want to install solar power.
Having been through the wringer before on FoI requests in the past, I expected the government to drag its heels processing the request. Our lawyers at the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) warned us that FoI has been going from bad to worse in Victoria and that we were going to need to be patient. However nothing could prepare me for the tortuous process that we’ve been through so far and that is still not complete.