The decision not to release details of commonwealth assistance for car makers is a matter for public servants, not the government, Finance Minister Penny Wong says.
The Australian Financial Review reported it had a Freedom of Information (FoI) application requesting "a single dollar figure" of assistance paid to each of the carmakers – Toyota, Ford and General Motors – between 2001 and 2012 rejected by the Department of Industry and Innovation.
Senator Wong said it was a decision made by public servants in the department.
"I can tell you as finance minister ... they make that decision completely separate from me," she told Sky News.
Senator Wong said her government has reformed FoI laws, abolishing those of the former Howard government where ministers could refuse to release information.
She said the government had publicly released its car plan, which provided a total of $5 billion out to 2020.
"The decision as to what can specifically be released under this application is a decision for the department," Senator Wong said.