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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

South Australian FOI reform stirrings

The Advertiser reports a glimmer of interest in change in South Australia, one of the laggards on Freedom of information reform where the 1991 act is Mark1.10, just a notch ahead of the 1980s Commonwealth/Victorian Mark 1.0 versions. Not just from long-time critics such as The Greens Mark Parnell and Family First's Robert Brokenshire who add to the list of failings identified by the Ombudsman Richard Bingham, but also in a first in a long time, from a minister:
Public Sector Minister Michael O'Brien said the increasing number of FOI requests, mostly made by journalists and MPs, was putting pressure on agencies, both in terms of cost and time. He said the Government was looking at ways to alleviate this, including publishing information routinely the subject of FOI requests on the internet. Another idea being considered by the Government was to assign documents a classification at the time of creation, with low-level classified documents made readily available. He conceded the Ombudsman's comments indicated some agencies weren't being as transparent as they should. "The more open the system the better and if the Ombudsman is saying some agencies are far too cautious then that is an issue we are going to have to look at," he said.

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