[LINK] Canberra moves a step closer to e-government
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue May 4 09:16:11 AEST 2010
Canberra moves a step closer to e-government
May 04, 2010
The federal government has moved a step closer to its aim of using web
technology to promote transparent administration, but the Coalition has
labelled the effort as just "blah, bureaucracy and boffin-speak".
Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig
yesterday announced that the government had accepted most of the
findings of its Government 2.0 taskforce.
The taskforce, which reported its findings to the government in
December, was established to come up with ways to use the internet to
make public service information more readily available and promote
stronger engagement between government and citizens.
Of the 13 recommendations the government only challenged a handful.
In response to the taskforce's report the government has decided to make
the Finance Department the lead agency for the program of works flowing
from Government 2.0 and hinged much of its success on the establishment
of an Office of the Information Commissioner.
It has also agreed to recommendations on licensing for public sector
information and a major new government website, data.gov.au, to
facilitate access to it. It also agreed to establish a new public
ACT Labor senator Kate Lundy, who has taken a keen interest in the
project, said the response was very positive.
"The vast majority of the recommendations have been agreed to and I
think that shows more than anything else that the political leadership
for the Gov 2.0 agenda is real, and this does put in place some very
tangible steps forward," Senator Lundy said.
However, shadow special minister of state Michael Ronaldson said the
opposition supported cross-government standardisation but the Government
2.0 project risked creating and entrenching a new federal bureaucracy.
"The simple fact is that too much of this response is just blah,
bureaucracy and boffin-speak," Senator Ronaldson said.
"Statements of principles about openness and transparency are fine but,
as we have seen with the changes to FOI, it does not really matter
unless ministers and public servants are willing to support those changes.
"Another concern we have with this report is the creation and
entrenchment of a new federal bureaucracy. It is a world of
inter-departmental committees and working groups -- and anyone in
Canberra knows that is a recipe for inaction.
"In one recommendation, which was agreed to by the government, there
will be public servants issuing reports, which evaluate departmental
reports on how those departments report information in their
departmental reports. That is just classic Yes, Minister stuff!"
The introduction of the Government 2.0 measures is still at least 18
The government plans to start deploying its Government 2.0 strategy on
the advice of the Information Commissioner.
The new commissioner will be given a year to come up with recommendations.
However, the appointment of the commissioner relies on the successful
passage through the Senate of the federal government's freedom of
information reform bills.
A spokesman for Senator Ludwig said the government was hoping to push
its bills through in the June-May sittings of the Senate, but it is
understood that would require giving them priority in a lengthening
queue of legislation.
Even if the bills were passed, it would be six months before an
information commissioner could be appointed.
brd at iimetro.com.au
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