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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SA travel costs-$77,000 first, please

South Australia not only seems to be stuck with Victoria as our Freedom of Information reform laggards, it also seems to be stuck in the pre-computer age when the travel costs of public servants can only be found after a search of mounds of paper records. This by Brad Crouch in The Sunday Mail:

The travel cost of rural health bureaucrats will remain a state secret after the Opposition baulked at a $77,000 bill to seek the information under Freedom of Information laws.  The Opposition's health spokesman, Duncan McFetridge, sought the information from Country Health SA for the past 12 months of travel, but was told it was contained in some 14,000 documents. The cost for processing the first 5000 documents was put at $27,624, indicating the total bill would be $77,000. Mr McFetridge's failed FoI bill now stands at $246,700, after he also unsuccessfully sought information about the business case for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital as well as the cost of the expensive medical contract dispute on Kangaroo Island. "This is all information that should be readily available to the public," Mr McFetridge said. He claimed his FoI requests were being denied on the basis of "censorship by semantics and pedantics". Health Minister John Hill did not answer inquiries on the issue.

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