Website opens government business transparency

By Paul Hemsley

Canberra internet users have accessed a broader range of information through the Open Government website for transparency purposes.

Launched in October 2011, the ACT Government said the website has received positive community feedback with more than 10000 page views and comments posted online and during three Twitter Cabinets held since July 2011.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said information available to the government should also be available to the community, “thereby enabling greater participation by Canberrans in the business of government”.

Ms Gallagher said the website was designed with online involvement from the community to provide a single gateway for access to a broad range of government information.

“A key component of the website’s function is the Freedom of Information (FOI) page, which discloses non-exempt FOI requests,” Ms Gallagher said.

According to Ms Gallagher, the material released so far relates to 30 FOI applications and covers areas including development applications, the live music IDC, security upgrades in public housing and supermarket competition.

“No matter who applies for the release of information under freedom of information laws, it is available to every member of the public on the website within 15 days of it being released to the applicant,” Ms Gallagher said.

The information available for access is cabinet summaries, FOI applications, ACT Government Directorate Annual Reports, ICT Strategic Plan for the ACT, and datasets of ACT Government information for use by application developers.

An ACT Government spokeswoman said the Government Information Office (GIO) and Shared Services ICT conceptualised and delivered the internal project.

GIO and Shared Services ICT run the website and no new staff were employed.

“It was not the intent of the website to act as a vehicle for liaising with potential contractors and vendors, however, vendors and contractors may find the site useful when preparing tenders and quotations for ACT Government work,” the spokeswoman said.

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