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Monday, May 30, 2011

Expensive freedom of information

Darwin academic and former Northern Territory parliamentarian Ken Parish in "The high cost of free information" posted on Club Troppo last week, raised the high cost to FOI applicants of time spent retrieving and perusing documents the subject of an FOI request. Parish suggested an easy fix solution-“state-of-the-art” document management systems-that some might expect to be in place already given the millions/billions spent on ICT in recent years. That issue to one side, at Commonwealth level there is now five hours free decision making time, a better chance of  waiver or rebate on public interest grounds, and no charge for an application not dealt with in time. The Australian Information Commissioner is to report on the fees and charges regime towards the end of the year. Tasmania leads in this area- under its Right to Information Act, a small application fee remains but other charges were abolished.

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