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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For the record, NBN Co not completely excluded from FoI

Lisa Martin in the Sydney Morning Herald
Liberal senator Ian Macdonald said NBN Co....had escaped scrutiny following "extraordinary exemptions from parliamentary regulatory oversight". He said the government had exempted NBN Co from scrutiny from the public works committee, limited the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) oversight and excluded it from freedom of information laws.
Without going into the broader accountability and transparency issues, the FOI reference is clearly off the mark. Senator Macdonald/Lisa Martin forgot/ missed this footnote to the mention in the opposition's dissenting report (Report p 60):
"An amendment passed by the Greens ensured the NBN is subject to the FOI Act with a targeted exemption to protect the confidentiality of its commercial activities. See revised Explanatory Memorandum, National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 and Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures—Access Arrangements) Bill 2010, p. 15. House of Representatives Hansard, 1 March 2011, pp1915-1917."
This post from April has more about the FOI exemption, for 12 months at least, for NBN Co "in relation to documents in respect of its commercial activities."

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