A new regime for access to
government information comes into force later this year. A key feature of the reforms is the establishment of a new public interest test.
The reforms to Commonwealth
Freedom of Information laws flow from two Acts passed on 31 May 2010: the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010
and the Freedom of Information Amendment
(Reform) Act 2010.
These reforms are the
result of numerous recent inquiries, including by the Australian Law Reform
PIAC made submissions and gave evidence as part of the reform
The majority of the new
measures start on 1 November 2010, with other changes starting on 1 May 2011.
Key features of the reforms
- The establishment of the new Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner (starting from 1 November 2010);
- A proactive publication requirement for
government agencies (starting 1 May 2011)
- A new public interest test (starting 1 Nov
- A reduction in the time that cabinet and other
government records are released under the Archives Act (to be introduced
progressively from 1 May 2011); and
- A reduction in the costs for applications
(starting 1 November 2010).
NSW FOI laws have also
recently changed, with the Government
Information (Public Access) Act 2009 commencing on 1 July 2010.
For more information, contact Gemma Namey, Solicitor.
Photo: David Otott