Canberra Matters columnist PAUL COSTIGAN reports the an ACT integrity commission is almost a reality.
SHANE Rattenbury says the ACT will soon have nation-leading Freedom of Information legislation that requires the proactive release of information from Government and removes a number of restrictions that prevent public access to information.
“The ACT Greens believe that transparency in Government is vital for the community to have trust in their elected representatives and public servants,” Shane said.
“This new Freedom of Information Bill 2016 will see the ACT become one of the most progressive jurisdictions in Australia when it comes to the release of information.
“The legislation is based on QLD Legislation and introduces a “push model” for the release of information, rather than the existing application process.
“Under the application process, the government is in control of the release of information, and ignores the obvious conflict of interest that exists in having government decide what is made available to the community.
“This new legislation means that Government Departments will be required to publish a range of documents, reports, briefs and data proactively, without the need to submit an application.
“Not only will this improved transparency assist the public in assessing whether the government has done its job well, it will facilitate the release of important government information so that the community can actively participate in the formulation of policy ideas.
“Having been a Minister in this Government for coming on four years, I have seen a range of material that could and should be easily accessible to the public.
“We know that no government is ever shy about releasing information that presents it in a positive light. But access to government information should be based on the best interests of the community and not the interests of the individuals or party forming the government of the day.
“This new FOI framework recognises that government information is a public resource and will help promote a culture of openness and transparency in government.
“I look forward to ushering in a new system of FOI for the ACT, shifting the culture of government transparency in the ACT, and allowing our citizens more opportunity to participate in government by opening up our information flows.
“The Greens FOI legislation was an item in the ACT Greens – Labor Parliamentary Agreement and was passed with tri-partisan support.”