Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Questions without Notice
Freedom of Information
As I said, we are abolishing fees—firstly, a $30 fee for FOI applications and also a $40 fee for applications to review FOI decisions. These are important reforms which will make it easier for people to access information. In addition, the government has decided to make the first five hours of decision making free, not only to journalists and non-government organisations but to the public at large—a significant reform as well. From 1 November there will be a single public interest test in dealing with exemptions, which will favour disclosure of a document unless the public interest lies in non-disclosure. From May next year, as a key part of the pro-disclosure reforms there will be a requirement for public sector agencies to publish any information disclosed in response to an FOI request within 10 days of that disclosure. That will provide information to everybody, not just to the applicant who sought that information.
During the Howard years the coalition practised secrecy and concealment. This government believes in openness and transparency and for that reason these reforms are very important and we are very happy to introduce them. (Time expired)