Having guides for citizens on accessing government information, while useful, represents the old world rather than the new. Employing Government 2.0 approaches we should reverse this approach. Rather than government telling citizens how to navigate agency processes to access public information, the public should be telling government how information should be presented to them. The community should write the guidelines and have agencies follow them, rather than the current position where agencies act as the authoritative bodies and citizens the applicants."
|Mercy from Wikimedia Commons.|
The Federal government has no similar central site but things became a whole lot easier in making an application to an agency with the abolition of application fees on 1 November last year, solving what some found near impossible two years ago- to accept a credit card payment with an application. Now every agency I looked at set out how to make an application in the same way as the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet-in writing by mail or via email in their case to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The same in Tasmania even where an application fee is payable-Visa or Mastercard are accepted. Applications to the Department of Premier and Cabinet can be made by
I couldn't find any NSW agency that invites or accepts email applications or payment by credit card or online. Thus the Department of Premier and Cabinet states:
You can make a formal application by downloading and completing the government information access form and sending it to us at the following address:
Coordinator (Public Access to Government Information) Legal Branch
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Your application is not valid unless it is accompanied by a $30 application fee. Payment of the $30 application fee is enclosed by: cash / cheque / money order (circle one). Do NOT send cash by post.
This form is also available from your local police station and must be submitted by you in person at a police station.
In Western Australia this guidance on the Premier and Cabinet website (emphasis added) at least allows for email and online applications if you are after personal information.
Personal Information - Applications for access to, and amendment of "personal information" are free. Accordingly, if you would like to apply for access to information under the FOI Act for documents of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, you may do so in writing on-line, via this website, by e-mail, fax or by regular mail (see Contact Us).
Non-Personal Information - Applications for access to "non-personal information" (a request that includes information about persons other than you) must be accompanied by the $30 application fee. Processing charges may also be applicable. As we do not presently have a facility to accept monetary payments on-line, please forward any requests for access to "non-personal information" by regular mail (see Contact Us).