While welcome, if that's all there is it will still leave Victoria with a 30 year old FOI act that in most respects is a mirror image of the Commonwealth act as it once was. But no longer since amendments in important respects over the years, particularly in 2010. The Victorian act is even further out of line with the FOI law mark 2 versions in various forms now in place in Queensland, NSW and Tasmania, law that could be further improved by any government really serious about the issue of transparency. There has been no inkling of interest from the Victorian government, publicly at least, in reform on this scale.
We'll no doubt hear that the proposed FOI commissioner-with $1 million in the current year's budget- will wave the magic "openness" wand when the office is established sometime after legislation to create the position passes. Public servants who have experienced unchanging "tone at the top" for years that suggests otherwise may-or may not-be touched.I continue to see departments and agencies applying the Act as an information protection system. I regularly identify:
• significant delays in processing requests
• restrictive interpretations of the Act
• administrative actions that are contrary to or simply disregard the Attorney General’s guidelines and the administrative recommendations from my 2006 review.