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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Openness and transparency should be at top of NSW list

The editorial in today's Daily Telegraph, "Rees should unshackle FOI " puts reform at the top of current challenge list in NSW: "Premier Nathan Rees has much to do in his new job, but nothing so urgent as reforming the State Government's openness and transparency,"and concludes:
"The NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour this year initiated his own inquiry into the state's ageing FOI laws, which have become inadequate with new technology. Incredibly, Barbour has been left alone to sort out government transparency - a task requiring much assistance. Nathan Rees, as a matter of priority, needs to put on the table his reform plans for FOI, as has taken place in other states. Included in those plans must be more accountability for MP perks, publication of private sector deals and penalties for anyone who willfully abuses FOI laws."
Kelvin Bissett's article on the Ombudsman's Annual Report includes the following:
"Mr Barbour said yesterday there are "cultural issues" within government that continue to work against openness. He said any application that concerns sensitive information, or a request from a journalist, can be expected to be met with fierce opposition."

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