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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Premier Rees says days of a secret state are over

Well a powerful editorial in the Telegraph and look what happens? NSW Premier Nathan Rees issued this media release this afternoon Rees acts to end Government 'secrecy
A couple of extracts:
Mr Rees said he would turn the Freedom of Information system on its head to end a culture of secrecy within the Government and bureaucracy.“I’ve examined the Act and met with the Ombudsman over the last six weeks and it’s clear to me that this Act is broken,” Mr Rees said.“I plan to fix it - the days of a secret state are over.Mr Rees said he had written to the NSW Ombudsman offering the Government’s strong support of his review of the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW).
“Today I am issuing a Memorandum to all Ministers asking them to ensure that their agencies take a more proactive approach to the release of ‘public interest’ information.“In particular, agencies will be directed to routinely publish information that is released regularly under the FOI Act.“The days of NSW acting like some kind of secret society have ended. It is time to change the culture of information exchange between the Government and the public.“I’m disappointed that some Government agencies – whose job it is to improve services – believe they should do so under some kind of black veil.“While certain details will always need to be kept confidential for legitimate commercial or security reasons, the public has a right to know a wide range of other details to give them confidence in Government decision making.”
This is exactly what is needed but strong,consistent and visible leadership from the Premier,ministers and senior public servants will be vital if NSW is to shake the secret state tag worn with apparent pride for many years. The devil will be in the detail of the law, policy and day to day implementation of the new order.

No getting away from it, it's great news.

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