"The final report, now with Parliament's joint accountability and oversight committee, paints the picture of a dysfunctional office, with "poor conduct" towards the two assistant commissioners; a backlog of reviews and complaints by people seeking FOI documents; and favouritism towards some staff, with "considerable anxiety and stress" among others. It also reveals:Ms Bertolini announced her intention to stand down three weeks ago, effective last Saturday.
- Since December 2012 the FOI office spent $825,946 on contracts with two selected legal service providers when equivalent organisations in NSW, Queensland and the federal sphere use little or no external legal advice.
- A further $55,000 was spent to hire the Agenda Group for three days of work, including a former executive and colleague from the gambling regulator.
- The average time taken to complete an FOI review was 90.4 days – well in excess of the government's 30-day target. Ms Bertolini completed 130 reviews between last October and April this year, but her assistant commissioners Michael Ison and Rachel Westaway had only been assigned a combined 19 reviews over the same period."
Legislation to create the Andrews government answer, a new Office of the Public Access Counsellor, is expected early next year.