The Rudd Government claims that new Freedom of Information laws due to be introduced into Parliament on Thursday will improve government accountability
The new laws will see the Office of the Information Commissioner established via the Information Commissioner Bill 2009 and the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Bill 2009.
Senator Joe Ludwig, who developed the bulk of the policies during his role as Shadow Attorney-General in the lead up to the 2007 election, said in a statement that the reforms will improve the availability of government information to the public, and bring oversight of the privacy and FOI regimes under the one umbrella.
The reforms package will include the new Information Commissioner - whom FOI applicants can directly approach - as well as the ability government agencies to extend their decision-making period on an access request only on agreement with the applicant.
The reforms also include the provision for new "open access" periods which reduce the current period of accessing records under the Archives Act from 30 to 20 years.
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