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Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Page: 3227

Mr BYRNE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade) (11:21 AM) —The establishment of the Office of Information Commissioner, which is the primary purpose of this bill, is a centrepiece of the freedom of information reforms. The government recognises that the promise of better information disclosure requires independent oversight. The establishment of an Information Commission—an FOI commissioner—will introduce independent monitors into the FOI arena, which is an initiative long overdue. The commissioners will play an important role in delivering effective administration of the FOI Act. For that purpose they will have comprehensive functions, enabling them to address poor FOI practices as well as attitudes that are not conducive to the presumption of openness intended by the government’s FOI reforms.

This Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Bill 2009 will also bring together the independent oversight functions for privacy and FOI regimes into a single office. This measure will strengthen oversight capabilities and allow for consistency in these interconnected areas of information policy. The establishment of the Office of the Information Commissioner underpins the government’s objective to revitalise the FOI Act and also lays a stronger foundation for privacy protection and improvements in the broader management of government information.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.