A message from the Information Commissioner: IAI Day 2020

September 22, 2020 - 11:42am

On International Access to Information Day (IAI Day) on 28 September 2020, we join communities and government around Australia and the world to celebrate the importance of the right to access information and how it plays a key role in times of crisis.

Right now, our daily lives look very different to last year. As citizens and governments, we are making decisions every day that affect how we, our community and government, respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access to information can reduce the impact of crises, such as the pandemic or natural disasters. When government is transparent and discloses timely and accurate information, this empowers us as citizens to take responsible action that can help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Governments around the world are openly publishing data and information about the impact of COVID-19, and response and recovery actions. For example, the Open Government Partnership has also reported on countries anti-corruption measures to make emergency procurement and stimulus packages transparent, open and accountable.

We all want to live in a world where government and public sector agencies are open, transparent and accountable. At the Office of the Information Commissioner, we believe releasing information to the community proactively or on request is a fundamental building block in a democratic society.

This has been especially true during COVID-19. It holds governments accountable when critical decisions are being made about health or public safety, the economy and human rights.

Our theme for International Access to Information Day is: Building trust through transparency.

The right to information and transparency ultimately builds trust, unity and it can lead to better decision-making. We know Queensland’s recovery from COVID-19 will rely on access to information, which is critical to influencing community behaviour and informed decisions for achieving health, economic and social responses and recovery.

IAI Day is an opportunity for the community and governments to come together and acknowledge the right to information and how it positively impacts our daily lives.

You might have noticed there’s been a name change this year. Queensland previously celebrated this occasion as Right to Information Day, but this change brings greater consistency across Australia and with the United Nations.

Wherever you are in Queensland, I hope you’ll join us in celebrating International Access to Information Day 2020. We invite you to check out our IAI Day webpage for more information, resources as well as a list of virtual events throughout Australia and the world.

With your support we can promote the value of access to information during times of crisis and building trust through transparency.

Rachael Rangihaeata
Information Commissioner