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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Small dose of FOI humble pie

In my post "Government contracts nothings straight forward" on Thursday 15 February, I was dead wrong when I said that the new contract disclosure law in NSW didn't provide for non disclosure of a contract or other information if disclosure would cause a document to be exempt under the FOI Act.

In fact buried away in a new section 15A(9)(d) - it pays to read the fine print - there is such a provision. So an agency can delete the information in any commercial in confidence provision in a contract, and not disclose any other required information if it could rely on any of the many exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act.

My earlier comment that this is likely to provide a significant out for some government agencies from the disclosure requirement still stands, but I assume, contrary to my observation at the time, that this is no surprise to the Act's proponents in Parliament.

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