Ab­sence un­ex­plained

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - DANIEL BATE­MAN

THE rea­son a high-pro­file prin­ci­pal has been ab­sent from a Cape York school will re­main a mys­tery after ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials knocked back a Right To In­for­ma­tion re­quest.

Lock­hart State School prin­ci­pal Siob­han Jack­son has been away from the school since Oc­to­ber.

It is un­der­stood this has co­in­cided with a De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In re­sponse to the Cairns Post’s Right To In­for­ma­tion ap­pli­ca­tion for doc­u­men­ta­tion re­lat­ing to the prin­ci­pal’s ab­sence from the school, the de­part­ment’s prin­ci­ple le­gal of­fi­cer, An­drew Smith, re­fused the re­quest.

“Un­der sec­tion 55 of the RTI Act, I nei­ther con­firm nor deny that the de­part­ment holds doc­u­ments of the type sought by the ap­pli­ca­tion,” he wrote.

“How­ever, if such doc­u­ments did ex­ist, they would be doc­u­ments to which ac­cess would be re­fused on the grounds that they would con­tain in­for­ma­tion the re­lease of which would be con­trary to the pub­lic in­ter­est pur­suant to sec­tion 47(3)(b) of the RTI Act.

“This de­ci­sion should not be taken, as in­di­ca­tion that the doc­u­ments re­quested un­der the ap­pli­ca­tion do, or do not, ex­ist.”

Ms Jack­son, who was the sub­ject of a 2015 episode of the ABC’s Aus­tralian Story, has been cred­ited with im­prov­ing at­ten­dance rates and in­tro­duc­ing ini­tia­tives that have bro­ken down racial bar­ri­ers at Lock­hart State School.

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing con­firm­ing whether Ms Jack­son would be re­turn­ing to the school in 2019.

Pic­ture: ANNA ROGERS

PAS­SION: Dr Daryl Goh is among 51 ju­nior doc­tors who are about to start the next stage of their med­i­cal ca­reers with the Cairns and Hin­ter­land Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice.

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