Page 5531 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2011

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remaining elements of the exemption and categorised as generally exempt. The portion of the current business affairs exemption relating to documents that would disclose a person’s business or professional affairs has been categorised as conditionally exempt and subject to the public interest test.

The bill also revokes the operation of certain conclusive certificates. The Freedom of Information Amendment Act 2009 removed the capacity to issue conclusive certificates other than those issued pursuant to the exemption for documents affecting national security, defence or international relations. However, conclusive certificates that were issued prior to this act remain in force. In line with recommendation 15 of the standing committee inquiry, the bill revokes these certificates.

The Attorney-General proposes to introduce another bill in a later sitting to implement the remaining elements of the government response. Due to the complexity of drafting, further technical amendments to the objects clause are required in order to better reflect the detailed amendments in this bill. In addition, a subsequent bill or regulation will make the Office of the Auditor-General an exempt entity.

The bill demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the performance of government agencies in responding to FOI requests and providing greater public access to government held information. In pursuing that objective, the government has already taken steps to require the publication of materials produced under the FOI Act. The Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 2011 gives this element of the open government policy legislative status.

Other elements in the bill significantly enhance the clarity of the obligation to release information and the circumstances in which the obligation does not apply.

Conclusive certificates, in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, will be a thing of the past. The government has confirmed its commitment to that important change in direction by providing for the repeal of existing certificates.

This bill takes the ACT a very significant step further along the path to true open government. On behalf of the Attorney-General, I urge members to give it their support. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Bill 2011

Mr Barr, on behalf of Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (12.21):

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