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  • Providing reasonable facilities and assistance

    An occupier of land, premises or a place has a legal obligation to provide all reasonable facilities and assistance to us when we visit the premises and exercise our access powers.

    When visiting land, premises or a place, we require the reasonable use of your photocopiers, telephones, light and power to be provided to us. We may also require facilities to extract relevant information stored on computers or other electronic devices, and adequate space to work.

    Example – Providing reasonable assistance

    John is an employer who is subject to an FBT audit. John’s employee records have been sent to an archival service.

    Our officer, Bruce, has been granted access to the building that stores the records. If John knows the reference number of the box, drawer or shelf where the records are located, he is obliged to tell Bruce these details.

    End of example

    If we need your assistance or facilities, we will keep any disruption to a minimum wherever possible. If we need to search paper or computer records, we will leave those records as we found them.

    Your reasonable assistance may include:

    • answering questions about the location of books, documents or other records
    • providing computer passwords or logging on to the computer and then allowing us to operate it
    • advising us who might have the password to the computer or other device
    • removing obstructions, such as unlocking facilities (if within your power) or suggesting other reasonable methods of obtaining access
    • explaining index systems or computer folders (if necessary) to identify, interpret and locate books and documents
    • explaining codes and symbols when this is necessary to identify, interpret and locate books and documents
    • locating user guides to explain the computer program that needs to be accessed
    • providing codes and passwords to decrypt encrypted data.

    Example – Not providing reasonable assistance

    We are seeking access to Peter’s documents which are stored in a safe with a combination lock. Peter is capable of unlocking the safe.

    Peter refuses to unlock the safe or provide the combination – this is a denial of full and free access. This behaviour is in breach of the access provisions because reasonable assistance has not been provided to enable access.

    End of example

    We also require you to provide reasonable facilities, which may include:

    • adequate lighting, heating and air conditioning consistent with other areas of the premises
    • a workspace appropriate to the circumstances
    • photocopying facilities – although we may bring scanners or portable photocopiers
    • computer facilities, such as keyboards, display units, instruction manuals and printers (if no hard copies are supplied).

    It is an offence under the access provisions not to provide reasonable facilities and assistance to us. In more serious matters, such as hindrance or obstruction, we may decide to prosecute those who do not allow us access.

      Last modified: 22 Jun 2022QC 56551