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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tassie joins improved accountability and transparency push

Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett has announced a 10 point plan to "clean up the mess " including
  • A review of the Freedom of Information Act, including more staff and resources.
  • Improved protection for whistleblowers.
  • A register for lobbyists.
  • Strengthened codes of conduct for ministers, parliamentarians and ministerial staff.
  • A recommendation to establish an independent investigative body or power.

  • The Premier's media release and fact sheets give more detail. On FOI:

    "An immediate review of the Freedom of Information Act, with a view to improving, if necessary, access to information for all Tasmanians, as well as of the administration of the act.

    This will include a thorough look at the recommendations of the reviews already conducted of both the Commonwealth legislation and the recent Queensland act review.

    In fact, the Solomon Review of the Queensland FOI system will be the starting point for this review.

    Secondly, we will significantly strengthen the implementation of the act by providing additional resources in the training, salary and staff numbers of FOI officers and units, as well as the development of rigorous manuals and guidelines for use by people working in this area across government agencies.

    The Department of Justice will oversee this review, but it will be conducted with the use of independent FOI experts from outside of our government and outside of Tasmania.

    The make up of this panel of experts and the Terms of Reference will be released publicly in the coming weeks.

    This is something which we will commence now."

    Good to see the reform movement is now on the agenda in all but a few of our jurisdictions, although we are yet to see the colour of any government's money.

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