Information Commissioner critical to Gov 2.0 agenda

By Angela Dorizas

The newly established Information Commissioner will play a key role in the national Government 2.0 agenda, Senator Kate Lundy has said.

In an address to the Government 2.0 Conference in Canberra on Wednesday, Senator Lundy said the Government was committed to openness, transparency and digital engagement.

“The need for leadership, whether it’s political, structural or organisational is critical,” she said.

“The Gov 2.0 leadership that comes from the political level, I think, culminated in our Declaration of Open Government.”

Senator Lundy said the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) would play “a key policy role for the Gov 2.0 agenda in Australia around open data and public engagement”.

Legislation to establish the Information Commissioner came into effect on Monday, with the OAIC releasing an issues paper Towards an Australian Government Information Policy.

“It was great to see such strong commitment to open and transparent government in the discussion paper launched on Monday, which had references to the Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report, the Ahead of the Game report, and the broader goals of an open and digitally engaged government,” Senator Lundy said.

She said there were three pillars of Government 2.0: “democratising data, citizen-centric services and participatory government”.

However, a “cultural and attitudinal shift” was required to build this platform of open government and digital engagement.

“We as a Government firmly believe that the default position of information should be that it is public unless there is a very good reason for it not to be,” Senator Lundy said.

“Structurally and practically this is a huge challenge within the public service.

“However, once the systems and tools are in place, longer term management of government data would be certainly easier and more efficient than is currently the case.”

Senator Lundy said the National Broadband Network (NBN) was crucial for developing and supporting the Government 2.0 agenda.

“Without this policy, our investments in open and transparent government would be the purview of the privileged few,” she said.

“The NBN is not just economic infrastructure for the future, it’s the necessary social infrastructure for the future that will underpin democratic engagement and empowerment of citizens in this country.”


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