By Rob O'Brien
The Federal Government has announced it will embrace all of the recommendations of the Gov 2.0 Taskforce, ushering in a new era of online engagement by Australian governments and agencies.
Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation and Senator Joe Ludwig, Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State commissioned the Taskforce last year to investigate how the Australian Government could utilise Web 2.0 technologies to deliver better services and improve engagement with citizens.
Mr Tanner said: “Web 2.0 technologies provide significant scope for the Government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery, public administration and community engagement.
“The Government’s response to the report prepared by the Taskforce shows we are supportive of the overwhelming majority of their recommendations and committed to progressing this agenda across government.”
The report recommended that the Australian Government make a declaration of open government, which Senator Ludwig said would be made in the near future.
He said that the Government had moved forward with a number of issues recommended by the Government 2.0 Taskforce, with freedom of information (FOI) reforms requiring more government information to be released and published under the new Information Publication Scheme.
“Along with these FOI reforms, today’s announcement represents a significant cultural change for the Australian Public Service, as does broader use of Web 2.0 tools such as social media applications,” Senator Ludwig said.
Twelve of the report’s 13 recommendations were generally agreed to by the Rudd Government. One recommendation regarding tax deductibility for information philanthropy has been deferred for consideration until it can be considered in the context of the review of Australia’s Future Tax System and the research report on the Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector.
Lindsay Tanner said: “The task now is to implement these changes, beginning with assisting agencies to make the most of the opportunities offered by Web 2.0.”
He said a new blog, managed by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within the Department of Finance and Deregulation, would provide a forum for discussion on issues surrounding government use of ICT.
Senator Kate Lundy, who has driven the Gov 2.0 agenda through ‘Public Sphere’ events on her website, wrote on her blog: “This is an important step forward for participatory government, and am very pleased that my Public Spheres have been helpful in demonstrating how a consultation can successfully integrate online contributions, and how valuable such contributions can be when you engage meaningfully with the public."
By Rob O'Brien
Should referenda be held outside the Federal Election cycle?
Yes, the political environment is too toxic
No, it would waste money
Allow voluntary e-voting in referenda