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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Victoria to scrap FOI fee and conclusive certificates but...

The Herald Sun reports that the Victorian Government has announced details of reforms to Freedom of Information legislation including the abolition of an application fee and withdrawal of powers to issue conclusive certificates (which may have never been used). But it will be a couple of steps forward and a big retrograde move if, as reported government departments are to be given an extra 30 days to process applications.

Victoria already has the longest Australian statutory time frame for dealing with FOI applications - 45 days. NSW is at the other end of the spectrum - 21 days plus 14 days in specified circumstances.

Where is the efficiency dividend for FOI applicants from the millions that have been spent on government IT if an agency in Victoria has 75 days to respond to an application?

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