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Sunday, July 02, 2006

FOI in the news

Media reports based on FOI this week include:

Sydney Morning Herald 26 June: "Teachers banned after abuse claims" - Forty-nine teachers from public schools were banned from having contact with students in the two years to April this year and placed on "alternative duties" after child protection allegations were made against them.

Daily Telegraph 26 June: "Power price shock - richer households paying less for their electricity" - Households in Sydney's west and country NSW are paying up to $221 more for the same amount of power as families in the affluent eastern half of the city. Analysis of electricity pricing compiled by Integral Energy reveals the extent of price discrimination in NSW. The excuse for the discrimination is the cost of maintenance and expanding services to new subdivisions.

Herald Sun 29 June:
"Composite classes galore" - Every second class in the Victorian primary school system is a composite of younger and older students - less than 5 per cent of state primary schools don't have composites.

"Speedcam "victims" fight back" - Furious Victorian motorists fed up with speed camera fines are turning their anger against operators, intimidating them and even smashing up their cars. The number of acts of vandalism committed on fixed and mobile cameras continues to rise each year.In 2003, there were eight attacks on fixed-location speed and red light cameras, 23 attacks in 2004 and 39 attacks in 2005.

The Age 29 June: "Secrecy on Howard's nuclear trip" - Details of nuclear talks between Prime Minister John Howard and American officials are being kept secret to ensure the US does not shy away from communicating with Australia about key issues. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has refused to search for documents about the nuclear talks in response to a freedom of information request from The Age. The department has made a blanket assumption that documents would be exempt from release due to their sensitivity. The decision by the Prime Minister's department prevents the public from knowing who Mr Howard and other Australian officials met in Washington for talks on nuclear issues or the nature of their talks.

In his weekly "What they won't tell you" column in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 1 July - "Butting heads with your local council" - FOI Editor Matthew Moore reports on an unsuccessful attempt by a Camden resident to obtain details about Council inspections of septic tanks.

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