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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First report card on operation of NSW GIPA act

It's taken a while-three years in fact-but the NSW Information Commissioner's report on the operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, the first since commencement, has been tabled in Parliament and is available here.  

The current commissioner Elizabeth Tydd took up the post earlier this year and clearly attached a priority to compliance-finally-with this mandatory annual reporting requirement.

I'm yet to have a close look but the Commissioner reports that three years of information about agency performance
"..confirms the Act is achieving its goal of improving the general approach of decision makers in providing timely and proactive access to information, giving the citizens of NSW confidence in Government decision making. The report indicates that the strategic intent of the Act is largely being met with most agencies complying with the Act’s requirements.
  • consistent and credible levels of information release
  • high levels of timeliness
  • increasing number of valid applications
  • the application of public interest considerations
  • greater release of information through agency reviews."
The  high level snapshot reveals:
  • 50,318 applications were lodged across the five sectors
  • 82% of those applications were lodged with government agencies, state owned corporations or Ministers
  • 17% of the applications were lodged with NSW councils 
  • 61% of the applications lodged with government are attributed to three agencies: Police (36%) RMS (15%) and WorkCover (10%)
  • 87% of decisions made by agencies were processed within the statutory time frame
  • There is a positive trend with 2,245 invalid applications received in 2010 – 2011 reduced to 1,699 in 2012 – 2013.


  1. Anonymous12:50 pm

    I feel that the report falls short of the intent of section requires the Commissioner to report on all aspects of the acts operation yet it deals only with applications for information - what about the rest of GIPA ? Ignored it seems.

    The speeches and comments made at the time of GIPA's inception was to transform the sector to adopt a culture of proactive disclosure yet those aspects are not addressed in this report.


  2. Anonymous4:32 pm

    I agree. The intention of s 37 is for a report on the operation of the Act "generally". This s 37 report appears to be a collation of statistical information which agencies are obliged to provide in their annual reports, and does not appear to contain any research, information or statistics collected independently by the IPC.

    The report omits any reference to mandatory open access information (key information supporting trust, transparency, accountability and involvement in government decision-making - State Plan goals 30, 31 and 32) - and does not explain why this has been omitted, or why the information access pathways have been reduced from four to three.

    Altogether, I find this a very puzzling report, and I am not convinced that the three focus areas mentioned by the Information Commissioner will go very far in assisting agencies to further embrace the opportunities and challenges presented by the GIPA Act.

    Also disappointed.