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While Gold holdings do fall under the operations of the bank, the position held has remained unchanged and published for well over a decade and I see no risk in providing details of the bars which underpin this position.
In terms of s27, (consultation – business documents) of the Act, the Reserve Bank of Australia is required to consult with a ‘person, organisation or undertaking’ in the event that (they) might reasonably wish to make an exemption contention that the document is exempt from release in terms of s47 (business). Consistent with the terms of the consultation process provided for in s27, we have determined in writing that consultation is required, and therefore an extension of processing time (by a further 30 days) to enable consultation to take place (s15(6)) is provided for by the Act.
The Bank of England has advised us that it regards the information about the gold holdings that has been exchanged with the RBA to have been exchanged in confidence. This is consistent with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s own view about our interactions with the Bank of England in relation to the gold holdings (i.e. we also regard our exchanges with the Bank of England to have been made in confidence).
Accordingly, I have decided to deny access to the information sought in terms of section 33(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) ‘as information or matter communicated in confidence by or on behalf of a foreign government [or] an authority of a foreign government … to an authority of the Commonwealth’ (being the Reserve Bank of Australia). Further, I have decided to deny access to the information sought also in terms of section 33(a)(iii) of the Act, which pertains to documents affecting international relations of the Commonwealth. I have decided that disclosure of the information sought by you would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth.