Australia is widely recognised as one of the world’s most democratic and open countries. But we know there is always more to do: we can neither afford to let our hard-won progress slip, nor fail to meet new challenges. We want to ensure that our society remains one where citizens are empowered to question government and hold it to account. That’s why we joined the Open Government Partnership.
Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan was developed in collaboration with the community and launched in December 2016. It contains commitments to strengthen and improve transparency and accountability in business, open data and digital transformation, access to government information, integrity in the public sector, and public participation and engagement.
Since then, we’ve established our Open Government Forum, continually reported publicly on the progress of our 15 commitments, and produced a Mid-Term Self-Assessment Report. We’re making good progress on what we promised.
Throughout this, community participation has been instrumental in driving open government. Community involvement has made our commitments more ambitious, our monitoring of progress more thorough, and the government’s engagement more meaningful. Community input has helped make our Plan a success.
Now it’s time to develop our second Open Government National Action Plan. This Plan is due by 31 August and will cover the period until August 2020. Building on the lessons and successes of our first Plan, this next Plan will focus on a more limited set of commitments, creating a genuine list of priorities that we can use to drive real progress.
Development of this Plan has already started. The process will work like this:
There are two particular points where we want your input:
Prospective themes and commitments
In the first phase, we want to hear your ideas about prospective themes and commitments for the next Plan. From 19 February-30 March, you can have your say online by submitting and discussing ideas at this website.
To kick off discussions, the government has identified some areas where there’s a real opportunity for meaningful progress over the period of the next Plan. Our Open Government Forum then approved discussion starters on the following topics:
- digital transformation
- civic participation
- public sector integrity
- access to government information (added 14 March), and
- trust (added 14 March).
We welcome your ideas on these – as well as any other suggestions of how to make government more transparent, accountable and engaging. Just visit one of the pages linked above, register for an account, and make a comment.
Face-to-face consultations are also being held around the country (registrations for all consultations are now closed).
- Canberra: 1-5pm, Wednesday, 14 March
- Perth: 9am-1pm, Friday, 16 March
- Melbourne: 1-5pm, Tuesday, 20 March
- Sydney: 1-5pm, Wednesday, 21 March
- Brisbane: 1-5pm, Friday, 23 March
The Open Government Forum will consider the results of this first phase of consultations (both comments on the pages of this website and at the face-to-face consultations) at its meeting in April, and make recommendations to government about the content of the next Plan.
In the second phase, we’ll release a full draft Plan for comment.
After a period of online consultation from 25 June-8 July, we’ll be holding a one-day workshop in Canberra on 11 July to finalise recommendations to government. Registrations for this workshop will open closer to the date.
The Open Government Partnership in Australia has been defined by its community involvement. Now, we’ve another opportunity to work together to develop a plan that, once again, reflects and cements our place as one of the world’s leading democratic and open societies.
Fiona McLeod SC and Barry Sterland
Co-Chairs, Open Government Forum