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Sunday, June 25, 2006

FOI in the news

Media reports based on FOI applications over the last week include:

Daily Telegraph 19 June:
“Grime and punishment: private schools secretly told to clean up their act” - Private schools were ordered by WorkCover to lift their game last year over dozens of matters including mouldy science labs, leaking toilet blocks and even hazardous prayer mats.. The Daily Telegraph has obtained copies of all WorkCover improvement orders issued to private schools. Among the more serious matters were claims of staff bullying at Eukarima School at Bowral, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School at Middle Cove and Coverdale Christian School, Riverstone.

“Red light camera: how less is more” - Red light cameras are catching fewer motorists than ever but higher fines have created a magic pudding miracle of more revenue for the NSW Treasury. An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has revealed the number of drivers snapped running red lights fell to 51,375 last year, nearly 2000 down on 2003-04.. But higher $300 fines mean the State Government has squeezed out millions of dollars more.

Canberra Times 19 June: “In this jail, there'll be more cons than pros” - A 2003 report that provided the basis for the ACT Government’s decision to build Canberra’s first prison says a majority of those convicted in the ACT are not Canberra residents, contradicting one of the major claims for proceeding with the project.

Australian Financial Review 23 June: "Power and liberty seldom get along" - Verona Burgess, the Government Business reporter, summarises speeches by the Federal Ombudsman, Federal Privacy Commissioner and Richard Mulgan of the ANU at last week's Institute of Public Administration seminar on Open Government. The Ombudsman, John McMillan "blasted the public service for indefensible uneveness in agencies' responses to FOI requests....The democratic integrity of a system of government is as vital as its financial integrity".

The Australian 24 June: “Stealth fighter project “flawed” - Australia’s biggest-ever defence project, the $16 billion Joint Strike Fighter, has potential flaws that could reduce the world's newest warplane to just an "average aircraft", according to internal Defence Department documents. The documents reveal the JSF is beset with serious software problems and a cockpit display system so bad it had to be almost completely redesigned.

Sydney Morning Herald 24 June: In his weekly “What they won’t tell you” column FOI Editor Matthew Moore in “Food for thought” reports on food hygiene inspection of restaurants by City of Sydney Council health inspectors. Moore has been unsuccessful in obtaining details concerning those fined and identifies anomalies in the statistics provided to him by the Council concerning the activities of the inspectors.

As usual some links are not available.

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