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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 September 2011) . . Page.. 4035 ..


As a starting point I would encourage all who have not already done so to visit the Time to Talk website, which has become the online point of first contact for community consultation. If you hop onto the site today, you can have your say on the nurse-led walk-in centre at the Canberra Hospital, or join a conversation about whether Twitter cabinet has been a worthwhile experiment. Over time, the site will be hosting a growing range of community online events, from the online community cabinet I mentioned a moment ago through to in-depth community panels, open discussion forums and wikis.

Whilst many of the challenges we wrestle with in relation to open government are technological ones, there are also in some instances legal and other considerations that need to be teased out. For example, while I understand the desire by some members in this Assembly for the government to copyright all ACT government publications under Creative Commons licences, I am advised that such a step requires extremely careful policy development to ensure proper protection of the territory’s intellectual property. This exploratory work is underway and I would be happy to brief members further at a future date.

There is excitement in the government in relation to the initiatives I have spoken about today. There is a real enthusiasm to see where open government can take us, to see how it can allow this government to better serve and engage the community and to better explain why and how certain decisions need to be taken.

By its nature, this will be a journey without end because there will always be an emerging technology to challenge us and push us out of the comfort zone. The immediate thing is to start from a philosophical position that more communication is better than less communication, that more openness is better than less.

The structural and cultural reforms the government is putting in place have the potential to make this city a leader in the kinds of things I have spoken about today. I look forward to updating members again as these initiatives become part and parcel of the regular, daily business of government.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo), by leave: I welcome the minister’s statement, as it is pursuant, as it says, to an Assembly motion that I moved earlier this year. I think it is great to see the ACT government moving in the direction of more open government.

Probably one of Ms Gallagher’s most interesting statements was about the perverse and unintended consequences of freedom of information. I have done only a very little bit of freedom of information research so far, but that is certainly true: you always wonder what is behind the black bits. They clearly have been culled.

I applaud the government saying that, unless there is good reason why data should not be available, there should be a presumption in favour of the release. That, of course, was part of the motion. The other thing that was part of the motion, which I note the government voted against, was to copyright all ACT government publications under the Creative Commons licence. I would point out that it is more than just the desire of some members of the Assembly. It was actually in a motion passed by this Assembly that the government should do this, so I look forward to the government completing


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