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Monday, November 06, 2006

FOI in the news

FOI has produced some important stories over the last week and also got a run in the televised debate last Friday between the two Victorian party leaders as part of the election campaign.

The Daily Telegraph in "You dam fools" based this story about reserves of Sydney's drinking water not meeting standards on a 2005 consultant report obtained under FOI.

The Australian in reporting the introduction of speed limits in the Northern Territory, revealed that advice to the Government that such a step would reduce loss of life, had been rejected, with the Government claiming that alcohol not speed was the main problem on Territory roads. A year later, it's speed.

Given the fact that law and order is a hot issue around the country, The Advertiser's report based on documents released under FOI that almost half those who apply to join the South Australian Police Force don't survive the recruitment process, may be indicative of what happens elsewhere. In South Australia, they're turning to the UK for recruits.

Matthew Moore's FOI column in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday about refusal of an application for documents about breaches of the Oil for Food sanctions (the issue was blogged here last week) has prompted 27 comments to date concerning the Government's attempt to hide information about the allegations and investigations.

In Victoria, Opposition Leader Ted Bailleau pushed Premier Steve Bracks on the issue of transparency, and FOI in the televised debate. In addition to the article cited last week, the Age has had follow up reports concerning public private partnerships, an alleged $8million contract rort, and this editorial "People are starving – give them information".

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