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Monday, April 17, 2006

SMH gets inside dope on Ombudsman Report

From today's Sydney Morning Herald "Stay in Touch" column. The SMH presumably has a copy of the Ombudsman's Report as it was the complainant. No sign of the Report on the Ombudsman's website.

"Sartorworld - aka the Department of Planning - is "unreasonable" (x4), "wrong" (x4) and "mistaken" (x2), according to the NSW Ombudsman, which found the secretive taxpayer-funded fiefdom wasn't meeting its freedom-of-information obligations.

We asked for details about plans for East Darling Harbour in 2004, and the department said all its documents were probably secret cabinet ones, but for a $405 advance fee it would say so for sure.

It asked us to pay it for the three hours it would take to list the documents we couldn't see (forgetting it already had a list), and pay for secret discussions with secret third parties about the secret documents it was going to keep secret.

Transparent democracy, NSW-style, where inflated charges, obscure exemptions and claiming cabinet-in-confidence for documents which go nowhere near cabinet is what your taxes fund. And what of the NSW Ombudsman's calls over the past decade for an independent review of FOI, repeated in this instance? Sorry, can't hear you".

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