FOI applicants wanted for public interest issues

PIAC is interested in
assisting people who want to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) application
for either NSW or Federal Government information about a public interest issue.

PIAC’s call for
expressions of interest follows the introduction of amendments to federal FOI legislation.

‘A final tranche of amendments
to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 came into force
in May 2011,’ said PIAC Senior Solicitor Lizzie Simpson.

‘These amendments complete
the changes that commenced in November 2010.

‘Initial application fees have been abolished and
there is a
new onus on government agencies to proactively release
information to the public,’ Ms Simpson said.

‘The Freedom
of Information Act now covers private companies that provide government services and a new
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been
created to oversee FOI activities. 

there is a new public interest test which is weighted
towards disclosure of government information, unless there is stronger public interest
reason for withholding documents.’

Ms Simpson said the
reforms are intended to improve the effectiveness of FOI
legislation as a tool for promoting government openness and accountability.

‘At state level, the new Government
Information (Public Access) Act
2009, which replaced the Freedom
of Information Act 1989
(NSW), commenced in July
2010. The
NSW reforms were also
intended to
government openness by introducing a public
interest test in favour of disclosure.’

PIAC would like to hear
from people who have made FOI applications on public interest
issues, or who are thinking about making an application for government

Contact PIAC Senior Solicitor Lizzie Simpson for more details. 

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