Applications open: working group to draft open government plan

By Harley Dennett

Friday August 19, 2016

Wanted: six government officials and six civil society types to steer the last leg of Australia’s entry to the Open Government Partnership.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is calling for stakeholder expressions of interest to join an Interim Working Group to help co-draft Australia’s first National Action Plan to the OGP multilateral initiative with nearly 70 member countries worldwide.

The OGP aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

While Australia has flirted with full OGP participation for the last three years, it was only late last year that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull formally opened the process. Information sessions were held in capital cities around the country and one workshop with civil society groups to get the ball rolling on proposals for Australia’s first draft National Action Plan. The double dissolution election temporarily halted progress, but PM&C is eager to not lose the momentum or the enthusiasm.

“We’re excited to bring together experts from civil society and government agencies to deliver a strong and ambitious National Action Plan that will continue Australia’s long and proud history of democracy and open government,” a PM&C spokesperson told The Mandarin.

“The Interim Working Group will build upon the civil society consultations conducted by my team previously, and will consider and prioritise commitments for possible inclusion in the National Action Plan. This will be Australia’s first National Action Plan, intended to provide a foundation to further engage with civil society and identify new initiatives over time.”

A civil society representative will co-chair the new working group, sharing leadership with a government representative. This addresses an earlier concern from non-government groups that officials were dominating the process.

Criteria and process for the EOI can be found on the OGP Australia blog.

Applications are now open and will close 5pm on Wednesday, August 24.

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