Coalition Government further strengthens Freedom of Information

• Two Assistant FOI Commissioner positions
• Education and training capacity strengthened

The Victorian Coalition Government is further delivering on its commitment to strengthen freedom of information.

The Coalition Government for the first time in Victoria established an independent FOI Commissioner to independently review applications and investigate complaints.

Victorians now have access to an independent umpire if they are dissatisfied with the initial response to a FOI application by a department or agency.

This was the most far-reaching reform to FOI since the legislation was introduced more than 30 years ago. It was something Labor refused to do in their 11 years in office despite Ombudsman’s annual reports repeatedly highlighting Labor’s abuses of FOI.

The Coalition Government will now further strengthen the work of the FOI Commissioner by providing two new Assistant Commissioner positions to assist in handling reviews and complaints under the Freedom of Information Act.

Additional staff will also be seconded from the Department of Justice to assist the FOI Commissioner to develop an education program and materials that will further enhance training across the public sector.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said these additional resources reaffirmed the Coalition Government’s commitment to improve the operation of freedom of information in Victoria.

“The Coalition Government promised an independent FOI Commissioner and we have delivered that promise,” Mr Clark said.

“We have already provided $7.9 million over four years to support the operations of the FOI Commissioner, which was a substantial increase in resources compared to Labor, where internal reviews were usually undertaken by departmental officers as a side role on top of their main jobs.

“Today’s announcement provides further resources to support the important work of the FOI Commissioner.”