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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3993 ..

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 10 : Mr Barr, Mr Pettersson, Ms J Burch, Mr Ramsay, Ms Cheyne, Mr Rattenbury, Mr Gupta, Mr Steel, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Orr

Noes 7 : Miss C Burch, Mr Wall, Mr Coe, Mrs Jones, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Lawder, Mr Milligan

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 1 August 2019, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (3.40): Madam Speaker, the Canberra Liberals have been longstanding supporters of FOI reform and we will be supporting this bill. My colleague Mrs Dunne has been deeply involved in the development and delivery of many of the reforms that were passed at the end of the last term and we continue to work to improve this system. We have warned previously that we would not support bills which seek to water down the good work that was done on those reforms.

However, we will support amendments which seek to make the FOI regime more effective in a practical sense, which is what appears to be the case with the current amendment bill. As was described in the tabling of this bill, the ACT Ombudsman reported that in the first six months of operation of the new act there was an increase in applications of approximately 20 per cent.

A survey conducted by information access commissioners showed that 90 per cent of ACT respondents said that it was important to have the right access to information held by the ACT government. Seventy-seven per cent were aware of their rights and around 80 per cent of all applicants were successful. That is a good record, but we are always open to making the system even better, and it appears that there is room to make this system better.

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