Sunday, July 18, 2010

Australia's Declaration of Open Government

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-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Clift <>
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 13:39:33
To: newswire<>
Subject: [DW] Australia's Declaration of Open Government


Declaration of Open Government
By Lindsay Tanner on 16 Jul 2010 11:07am, 51 comments
Gov 2.0

The central recommendation of the Government 2.0 Taskforce's report
was that the Australian Government makes a declaration of open
government. As the Minister responsible for that Taskforce, I am proud
to make that Declaration today on behalf of the Australian Government.

Declaration of Open Government

The Australian Government now declares that, in order to promote
greater participation in Australia's democracy, it is committed to
open government based on a culture of engagement, built on better
access to and use of government held information, and sustained by the
innovative use of technology.

Citizen collaboration in policy and service delivery design will
enhance the processes of government and improve the outcomes sought.
Collaboration with citizens is to be enabled and encouraged. Agencies
are to reduce barriers to online engagement, undertake social
networking, crowd sourcing and online collaboration projects and
support online engagement by employees, in accordance with the
Australian Public Service Commission Guidelines.

The possibilities for open government depend on the innovative use
of new internet-based technologies. Agencies are to develop policies
that support employee-initiated, innovative Government 2.0-based

The Australian Government's support for openness and transparency
in Government has three key principles:

* Informing: strengthening citizen's rights of access to
information, establishing a pro-disclosure culture across Australian
Government agencies including through online innovation, and making
government information more accessible and usable;
* Engaging: collaborating with citizens on policy and service
delivery to enhance the processes of government and improve the
outcomes sought; and
* Participating: making government more consultative and participative.

Supporting Initiatives

The Australian Government's commitment to action on each of these
principles is demonstrated by:

* the passage of legislation reforming the Freedom of
Information (FOI) Act and establishing the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner;
* the Government's announcement on 3 May 2010 of its response
to the Government 2.0 Taskforce report, Engage: Getting on with
Government 2.0; and
* Its response to the Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the
Reform of Australian Government Administration report, in which the
Government agreed that creating more open government is a key reform
for the Australian Public Service.

Effective collaboration between citizens and government requires
timely sharing of the information held by Government. The Government's
FOI Reforms create the new statutory Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner and establish a comprehensive Information
Publication Scheme that requires agencies to publish a wide range of

The Australian Government has commenced the program of initiatives
outlined in its response to the Taskforce's report in accordance with
the agreed implementation timetable.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation will report annually on
implementation progress of the recommendations of the Government 2.0
Taskforce to the Government through the Secretaries' Information and
Communications Technology Governance Board.

The Gillard Government is committed to creating a culture of public
sector openness, transparency and engagement. This Declaration is a
demonstration of that commitment.

The Declaration underpins a range of Government initiatives already
under way. The establishment of the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner and the Government's broader freedom of
information reforms aim to restore trust and integrity in government
and drive agencies to proactively release information to the public.
The Declaration also reflects one of the key reforms of Ahead of the
Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration,
which called for more open government.

The Declaration encourages and affirms among Australian Government
agencies a culture of openness built on the key principles of
informing, engaging and participating with the public. And it
acknowledges that the internet holds a crucial role in realising a
more open and transparent form of government in this country.

The Declaration is about making more government information available
to the public online, and encouraging reuse of that information in
new, valuable and potentially unexpected ways. It is about giving
Australians more of a say in forming the policy and delivering the
services that have an influence on their lives. It is about enabling
government agencies and individual public servants to be more
innovative and more responsive to input and feedback, while still
maintaining the high ethical and professional standards we expect.

I believe that the Declaration lays an important foundation in
implementing our Government 2.0 agenda. In the spirit of that agenda
I urge you to read the Declaration and welcome your ongoing feedback
as the Gillard Government implements a culture of openness and works
towards a more participatory form of government.

Lindsay Tanner

Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Steven Clift -
  Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
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