THE BRACKS Government will implement changes recommended by the state’s Ombudsman in a report on Freedom of Information (FoI), Attorney-General Rob Hulls has announced.
Hulls said last week that the recommended changed will improve administrative processes. The Government “broadly supports” the proposals, he said.
While generally FoI requests are handled promptly, there have been some concerns in relation to delays, he said. “This Government restored FoI in Victoria and enshrined the independence of the Ombudsman following the anti-democratic era of the Kennett government,” Hulls said.
“The former government restricted FoI access by broadening the definition of Cabinet documents and at one stage threatened to scrap the entire FoI Act. It introduced new fees and, not surprisingly, the number of FoI requests fell — FoI was a farce. Now more people than ever before are making use of the FoI Act which was introduced in 1982,” he said.
“FoI requests have increased by more than 57 per cent since this Government came to office and in 2004/05 there were more than 20,000 applications for the third consecutive year. And in almost all cases — 97 per cent according to the 2004/05 FoI Annual Report — access to documents is granted.”