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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . .

Page.. 1644..


assessments, which are undertaken for cabinet decision-making, will become open-access information under the bill, and thus will be subject to the public interest test.

Nicky Hagar, a writer and researcher who has worked hard to obtain information on a range of issues in New Zealand, noted that:

Secrecy seems as if it makes life easier for governments and officials. But countries with FOI laws have learned that presumption of availability and orderly release of information actually causes few problems. Interestingly, when governments are secretive the important information still gets out, but in the form of embarrassing leaks.

Let me conclude by simply stating that government practices and the means for the public to actively participate in their government should always be evolving. This bill represents a significant step forward. It will take us from the back of the pack to right up the front. It will improve government accountability to the community and community participation in government. It is universally true that the more effective the accountability mechanisms in place for the conduct of the executive, the better the quality of that conduct will be.

The bill is consistent with the majority of submissions received by all public inquiries into freedom of information laws across Australia. There is no doubt that communities want governments to be more open and accountable for their conduct and that is exactly what this bill will deliver.

I realise that this is a significant bill for members to digest. I do hope that members appreciate that, as a crossbencher, as a Greens member with our commitment to openness and transparency and now also having been a government minister for three and a half years, I have a unique perspective to understand the need to balance the multiple requirements of the community, the members in this place and the government.

I look forward to discussing the scheme in greater detail with members of this place in the coming weeks and, of course, when it comes back for debate in the chamber. Just as with any piece of legislation or government initiative, I hope that the community will participate in the debate. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.

Manuka Oval—proposed redevelopment

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.39): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) there has been considerable community reaction to the GWS-Grocon unsolicited bid proposal to redevelop and upgrade facilities at Manuka Oval precinct;


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