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Enhance state and territory participation in the Open Government Partnership

What are your views on enhancing state and territory participation in the Open Government Partnership?Lead implementing agency/actor

Information and Privacy Commission NSW, with support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Commitment 

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Under Australia’s federal system of government, responsibilities are shared between different levels of government. To date, participation in the Open Government Partnership has occurred primarily at the federal government level. There is significant work underway at the state and territory level that contributes to the development of a culture of government openness, enhanced levels of transparency and greater public accountability. This National Action Plan provides an opportunity to better leverage and enhance participation in the Open Government Partnership process by state and territory governments.

What is the commitment?

This commitment will better provide for subnational participation in the Open Government Partnership process. We will achieve this by:

  1. establishing a framework and mechanisms to facilitate communication between state and territory governments and Australian Government officials responsible for Australia’s Open Government commitments to support collaboration and learning on open government matters, and highlight the opportunity for formal subnational cooperation and membership in the Open Government Partnership, and
  2. to demonstrate the benefits of enhanced collaboration on open government matters: engaging with state and territory Information Commissioners to seek agreement to conduct surveys to measure citizens’ awareness of the right to access government information, and their experiences and outcomes in exercising that right.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

We will promote fuller participation in the Open Government Partnership by Australian states and territories, and, in particular, enhance understandings of how the right to information access is experienced by Australians. 

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

This commitment will advance the OGP values of access to information, civic participation and public accountability by:

  • facilitating greater participation in the Open Government Partnership process, which will, in turn, promote all OGP values
  • better measuring the value citizens place on the right to access government information, and their awareness of, and their experiences and outcomes in exercising that right.

Milestones

Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable

Start Date: End Date:

Establish a framework and mechanisms to engage state and territory governments to raise awareness of the Open Government Partnership, support collaboration and learning on open government matters, and highlight the opportunity for formal cooperation and subnational membership.

Q3 2018 Q4 2018

Engage with state and territory Information Commissioners to:

  • agree to the design of a survey to measure the value citizens place on the right to access government information, and their awareness of, and their experiences and outcomes in exercising that right

 

  • conduct survey

Q3 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q1 2019

Q4 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q3 2019

  • analyse and publish results of survey
Q3 2019

Q4 2019

 

Contacts

Information and Privacy Commission NSW: Elizabeth.tydd@ipc.nsw.gov.au

Other actors involved 

State actors: State and Territory Information Commissioners / Ombudsmen and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups: Accountability Round Table, Australian Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network.

Discussion question

Is this draft commitment specific, relevant, and ambitious?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 8 July.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in July, the Forum will be asked to consider feedback and make final recommendations to government on the form of Australia's second Open Government National Action Plan 2018-20.

 

Submissions and comments received via email

Comment

 

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Open Government...

The Canberra consultation to finalise the National Action Plan were held on 27 June and were attended by four participants from civil society. The following comments below were received from participants on this draft commimtment.

 

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Open Government...

The Melbourne consultation to finalise the National Action Plan were held on 29 June and were attended by 23 participants from civil society. The following comments below were received from participants on this draft commimtment.

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Gregory Thompson

I would add my strong support for the proposal to start this off through engaging with a State Government in implementing a major infrastructure project which would involve funding by the NSW and Federal Governments. Such an approach could be framed through the lens of Open and Clean Contracting to ensure efficient, effective and accountable outcomes.

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Gregory Thompson

Further to my proposal and reference to Clean and Open Contracting I draw attention to the Clean Contracting Manifesto https://www.transparency.org/files/content/feature/Clean_Contracting_Man... which provides examples of steps to be taken in the building of the new Sydney Airport as proposed at the Canberra consultation. I urge that steps be taken to follow that guidance in the development of the project.

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Open Government...

Peter Timmins has provided the comment below:

This is important and welcome recognition that all jurisdictions are on the open government journey, maybe all generally heading in the same direction but taking different paths.

Putting heads together might sharpen thinking about which way, potholes to avoid, how to save petrol and where we are going.

The OECD (2016 Open Government The Way Forward) identifies the challenges countries face in implementing and co-ordinating open government initiatives.

It outlines benefits from mobilising and engaging all branches and all levels of government in order to move from 'open government' to 'open state.'
http://www.oecd.org/gov/open-government-9789264268104-en.htm

Has this received consideration?

Parliaments and the courts should be on the road as well.

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Barbara Reed

3. Enhance State and Territory Participation in the Open Government Partnership: this is highly desirable. Expanding this to create some sustainable framework that seeks to align jurisdictional approaches to the management of information across the board is sorely needed. Rules that govern access to information, data and records are similar across jurisdictions but not the same. Cooperative working across jurisdictional boundaries is desirable for many communities whose information access needs are not constrained by geographic boundaries. Again, a strong engagement program with civil society should be a part of this work.

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Open Government...

Dr Colleen Lewis has provided the comment below:

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

I am probably misreading this section, but I am not sure that “the public problem the commitment will address”  has been clearly identified here .

What is the commitment?

I do not understand why this commitment does not mention COAG. This is the most obvious forum for bringing the Open Government Partnership to the attention of all State and Territory Governments and civil society, as COAG always attracts media attention and therefore presents an excellent opportunity for the broader civil society to learn about the OGP. I appreciate that the COAG agenda deals with very important issues that need to be addressed in Australia’s federated political system, but are there any issues more important at the Federal, State and Territory levels than openness, transparency and accountability.

To avoid “buck passing” between different Governments there is a need for a coordinated approach to the adoption of OGP values.  COAG could and should be the catalyst for the implementation of that coordinated approach. The Prime Minister could place the OGP on the COAG agenda if he wished.  He is to be congratulated for his role in ensuring Australia joined the international Open Government Partnership.  The Prime Minister should take his Government’s commitment to openness, transparency and accountability to the next level and ensure that the matter is discussed at COAG.

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Open Government...

Dr Colleen Lewis has provided the comments below:

  • Open government matters should form part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agenda. It is the natural home for a policy that is seeking Commonwealth, State and Territory agreement.
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