An interesting article published in the Examiner (May 20) re outgoing UTAS Deputy Dean of Law Rick Snell. I wish him well.
FOI law provides citizens with access to government documents with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability of government, its officials, and their actions.
Previously we had FOI in Tas but then it was changed to Right to Information (RTi).
I recently enquired again of Ombudsman Tasmania about the length of time it was taking to provide me with RTI releases.
On the 26th April it was confirmed my Hydro (Basslink) request was lodged on the 15th February 2017 (434 days ago).
My DPIPWE (smoke regulations) request was lodged on the 6th October 2017 (201 days ago).
Add to this another 35 days at the time of writing this letter.
Information is held under lock and key by Tasmania Police, taking up their resources. Why?
Dr Snell went on to say …
“If you think the hard issues – the floods, the cable car, the fisheries [including] both fish farms on the West Coast or East Coast expenditure on infrastructure [and] child services … if you name the whole raft of sensitive hot topic issues, your chances of getting reliable, quick information from the government at the bureaucracy is almost next to none, or it would be significantly delayed.” And there are many other hard issues not mentioned by Dr Snell.
To achieve secrecy, our current State Government is determined to under-resource the Ombudsman so he cannot provide information in a timely manner under the Act, or at all.
The Act is there to assist democracy. Obviously this is not what the Liberals are about.
Clive Stott is a former city branch, vice-president of the Tasmanian Young Liberals. He doesn’t like the amount of secrecy the current Liberals operate under …