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Monday, October 05, 2009

"People,not laws block freedom of information"

Matthew Moore in the Sydney Morning Herald gives the recent NSW Deputy Ombudsman's report on the Board of Studies a going over, citing it as providing a "standout example of what is wrong with freedom of information in NSW". The title as above, says it all, although the law does play a part. Moore concludes:
"It was precisely the behaviour of agencies such as Office of the Board of Studies that prompted the Parliament to pass a new freedom-of-information law, the Government Information (Public Access) Act. This act, which comes into force early next year, will be overseen by an Information Commissioner. There is much to like about the new law, especially the principle that all government information is to be made public unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. But as the Ombudsman's investigation shows so clearly, it is not the law that will make a difference; it is the attitudes of people who administer it, the Board of Studies bosses and a hundred other agencies. Unless their attitudes change there will be no improvement.."

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