Open government ideas flood, but councils miss out on OGP pilot

By Harley Dennett

March 14, 2016

Overhaul agency consultations, restore the OAIC and create a federal ICAC are among the ideas raised for Australia’s national action plan for joining the global Open Government Partnership.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in November that Australia would finalise its OGP national action plan by July 1 this year. Since then, some 60 actions have been tabled for consideration by Cabinet.

These actions range from legislative (public interest test on FOI exemptions), to administrative (maintain a central register of public research), to the consultative (minimum public exposure periods).

The full list of actions proposed is available on the OGPau wiki.

To finalise the national action plan by July 1, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will have to cut-off new action proposals early in April. Ideas will first be discussed with relevant agencies before being put in the submission to Cabinet.

The OGP is also preparing a pilot program for subnational governments. However, The Mandarin has learned that no Australian councils will be among the initial 10 entities in the subnational pilot.

Key themes from the consultations

Engage2’s Amelia Loye, who is running the OGP’s engagement process in Australia, posted the key themes from her conversations with representatives of state and local governments, civil society organisations and members of the public:

  • Public Participation –increased input into both policy and agenda setting, online methods, civic education and training for staff
  • Government Integrity – procurement, political donations, anti-corruption, parliamentary openness
  • Freedom of Information – review of the act, role of the commissioners, privacy, copyright review
  • Fiscal Transparency – open budget, political donations
  • Public Service Delivery – how Gov work with community and industry, how citizens find services
  • Resources Management – sustainable development, working with indigenous communities, see also OpenData and Government Data for Access to Information and Transparency
  • Open Data – standardised formats, public register and open raw data, publishing practices for data and publications including natural resource and extractive industry data
  • Government Data for Access to Information and Transparency – extractive industry data and transparency initiative
  • Fostering innovation – enabling and delivering innovation within Gov given budget and procurement processes, open innovation models that deliver innovation outcomes rather than tender to deliver outputs, support small to medium size businesses to use open data and deliver services
  • Engagement for OGP – raising awareness now, engaging the States, forums for ongoing engagement, mentoring staff


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