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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3328 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Both measures are good, but finish up a long way short of being called reform.

True reform is yet to be achieved.

In rejecting the Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 1998, the committee wishes to strongly make the point that it is far from happy with our current system.

And it is far from satisfactory on a wide number of fronts.

In response, the committee has made nine recommendations.

Some refer to improving the cultural commitment within the public service to the concept of freedom of information.

Others refer to a process that will develop a completely new Act based on a model that contains the bare bones of access to information as stated in general principles, rather than one (as is the current model) where every eventuality is anticipated.

An important new concept for Members to also consider is establishing an Information Commissioner to administrate the Act.

Both .Queensland and Western Australia have a commissioner who has wide powers to intervene and give directions to both requestors and government agencies.

When our present chief minister, Mr Humphries, was doing one of his stints in opposition some years back, he stated that the true test of a good government was whether or not its record was able to be scrutinised.

In other words, there needed to be a high level of access to government-held information.

I have taken up that statement as a challenge and trust that one day there will emerge a freedom of information Act in the ACT that really does require government to operate in the sunshine.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Scrutiny Report No 14 of 2001

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to present Scrutiny Report No 14 of 2001 of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, performing the duties of a scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation committee. I also ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

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