Freedom of information history in Queensland

The most significant reform to Queensland’s information rights regime in the past 18 years came into force on 1 July 2009 with the commencement of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld). The RTI Act and IP Act replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld) (repealed) and promote significant changes to accessing government-held information, and the way the Queensland Government value and manage its information assets.

The right to information reform was the result of an independent and comprehensive review of Queensland’s freedom of information legislation conducted by the Independent FOI Review Panel chaired by Dr David Solomon, AM. The Independent Review Panel issued a discussion paper entitled “Enhancing Open and Accountable Government on 28 January 2008. At the conclusion of the review, the Panel delivered The Right to Information Report: Reviewing Queensland’s Freedom of Information Act (PDF, 2.8MB) in June 2008.

The report recommended the Queensland Government overhaul its approach to information. It proposed moving to a 'push' model, with greater proactive and routine release of information, right to information and privacy legislation, and a maximum disclosure of non-personal information approach.

In its response the Queensland Government supported in full, in part, or in principle all but two of the report’s 141 recommendations, and committed to sweeping reforms to make Queensland the most open and accountable state of Australia.

Since the report, and the Queensland Government’s following commitment, the government revised its information standards to incorporate right to information principles, established a governance framework with clear roles for the Queensland Government Chief Information Officer, the Public Service Commissioner, the State Archivist, the Information Commissioner and the Department of Justice and Attorney General.  New legislation was introduced followed by ministerial guidelines to ensure that government-held information within Queensland is open, transparent and accessible.