Freedom of information: what your agency should know


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When the public wants access to records, it’s wise to be up-to-date with the regulations on what can and can’t be shared. It’s an important duty requiring foresight and diligence.

A well-functioning freedom of information system is a necessity for any open, transparent government. For government agencies, the duty to provide individuals with information requires foresight and diligence.

According to Maddocks partner Melanie Olynyk, freedom of information applications today are far more common than they were when FOI legislation was introduced in 1982. In the 1984-85 financial year, there were about 5000 FOI applications in Victoria. In 2013/14, Victoria reported about 34,000 FOI applications.

What does it mean?

“FOI is all about providing a right of access to government information,” Olynyk said.

It ensures governments are held accountable for decisions, expenses and behaviour, enhancing transparency.

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