Page 2637 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 28 June 2011

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There are a number of ways that we will start this work. I notice that on the weekend, in response to my ministerial statement, some of the active blog sites looking at Government 2.0 have been commenting on the statement I made last week and some of the steps they would like to see taken. I would say that the announcements I made last week really are the first steps that we will build on.

I note that some of the commentators believe that providing an open government website within three months will be a very ambitious task. But, again, I would say that if the website that we create is not entirely complete, we will continue to add capacity within that website. I do not want to rush this work. I do want it to be quality and I want to make sure that it delivers on what we actually intend to do, which is to provide better information to the community, information to the community earlier than has perhaps been the case, and provide them with an opportunity to talk further with us.

Obviously, there is the FOI web release policy. There are some protocols to put in place around that and a site created on that website around providing one location for all our reports and government reviews. We will, of course, outline a cabinet summary of key issues discussed and decisions taken. We look to start that following the rise of the Assembly this week. So next week’s cabinet meeting would be the first one that would fall within that summary document.

We have had a pretty positive response to holding the first virtual community cabinet via Twitter. We will see how this goes and there are obviously other ways of creating and harnessing the capacity that online mechanisms do provide to support that direct engagement with the cabinet and to provide members of the community with opportunity to talk directly with their cabinet ministers.

MR SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, a supplementary?

DR BOURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, you mentioned opportunities for enhanced e-democracy through the establishment of a new website and a trial of a virtual cabinet. Can you provide more detail around what this means for Canberrans?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the supplementary. We do know that in all the surveys done Canberrans lead the nation with their level of access to internet connections at home and indeed to broadband access. So we do think that this provides a real opportunity for members of our community who are time poor to connect online with their government and to look at ways where we can create a capacity for people to contribute to government work at any time of the day.

The new website will play a role in this. As I said, I want this to be quality work, so whether it is completely ready in three months time—we will just monitor over the next couple of months as it is being constructed. But I think that will provide a key area for the community to log on and interact with government. We know through 2030 time to talk that Canberrans really did use the web for surveys for discussion forums and to provide feedback on the process. We all found that incredibly valuable.

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