The EDO generally supports this Bill given that we recognise the importance of transparency in government decisions and policies.

However whilst we believe the Bill will help improve the community’s ability to access information, we are concerned that without ongoing and renewed momentum agencies may tend towards a ‘business as usual’ approach to (refusing) access to information, rather than a genuine commitment to open government. This concern extends to the level of openness and transparency of public policy making in the environmental law context.

Our concern about a ‘business as usual’ approach to FOI requests includes the difficulties of making FOI applications in time-dependent situations (such as rapid public policy development) and the broader problem of proactive transparency and public participation in developing environmental law and public policy.