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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2314


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(4.24) —Senator Chaney is perfectly aware that public statutory authorities cannot engaged in a cover-up because in any event the information in a statutory authority's report would be available under the Freedom of Information Act, which is not a procedure available to somebody trying to discover what BHP is doing. So there is that very obvious distinction between public and private authorities. So at the very least that access is available. But the advice from the officers is that the information can be either made available in the statutory authority's own annual report, which is tabled in Parliament, it can be made available as a separate report tabled by the Minister, or it can be made available to the Board and the Board will table all relevant information annually.

In the third case I agree with Senator Chaney that there may be some delay, but given the nature of the information sought I see no reason to believe that any member of the public seeking that information would not be able to get it. However, Senator Chaney is so obviously concerned about this and in order to facilitate the progress of the debate I will undertake to have the relevant Minister, the Minister for Finance, Senator Walsh, look at his concerns.