Latest data set provides snapshot of public’s use of right to information laws

July 9, 2024 - 8:53am

The latest comparative data set has been published providing insight into how information access rights across Australia have been tracking over the past year.

The National Dashboard - Utilisation of Information Access Rights 2022-23 has been released and is part of a commitment across jurisdictions to develop uniform metrics on public use of right to information (or freedom of information) access rights.

The metrics are part of priorities agreed to in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18, as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Information Commissioner, Joanne Kummrow, said the OGP was an international initiative which Australia joined in 2015.

“It is aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens and strengthen governance,” Ms Kummrow said.

“The Australian Information Access Commissioners and Ombudsmen released the inaugural dashboard of metrics in 2017, and it’s great that we now have ongoing metrics through to 2022-23, so we can see how information access rights have been tracking across the country.”

“In the interests of open government, transparency and accountability, this kind of reporting is vital and provides an analysis across jurisdictions,” she said.

Right to Information Commissioner, Stephanie Winson, said it was interesting to note the metrics suggested jurisdictions with push model laws were in a better position to serve the community.

“Queensland’s Right to Information Act 2009 is based on a push model. This means information is released proactively, unless there is a good reason not to, while protecting and respecting personal information,” Ms Winson said.

“This type of approach better serves the community’s right to access information, and this seems to be reflected in the dashboard metrics.”

Ms Winson also said, following the IPOLA Act reforms reporting on the performance of the legislations would be transferring from Government to OIC.

“OIC welcomes the opportunity to explore ways in which Queensland can gather all data sources needed to participate in this work. It will help provide a broader snapshot on the performance of the legislation – most notably filling the current gap on reporting on meeting statutory timeframes,” she said.