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Monday, November 29, 2010

Experienced FOI hand set to be Vic Minister for FOI

With the Coalition to take office after Saturday's election in Victoria, The Age reports on the likely cabinet line up. In Andrew McIntosh Victoria will have a Minister for Corrections, Crime Prevention, Freedom of Information, and Integrity, if he retains the same responsibilities he carried in opposition.

Victorian public servants might want to brush up on Mr McIntosh's letter of 17 November to the Accountability Round Table Vic election 2010 Liberal Coalition response.pdf that sets out integrity commitments including:
Overhauling Freedom of Information legislation. The first step will be the establishment of a FOI Commissioner. This will have the effect of preventing Government from suppressing information for political reasons. The FOI Commissioner will take the final decision-making about FOI requests away from government departments and agencies and will set enforceable standards for departmental FOI officers to meet. The FOI Commissioner will be independent of government. The second step will be a review by the FOI Commissioner of the working of the legislation in the light of Queensland's FOI legislation. The Coalition is determined to change the culture of secrecy in government in Victoria by ensuring that the onus is put on Government to provide information about government decision-making in the public interest rather than on those seeking information to wrest it from the grip of government departments and agencies, motivated to conceal the workings of government."
A quick refresher on the 10 reported VCAT and Supreme Court FOI decisions on review applications by Mr McIntosh might also be warranted. The first  was way back in 2000, the latest for police rosters (still before the Tribunal) involved Supreme Court consideration of "substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources."

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