Australia’s 14 OGP commitments to open government

By The Mandarin

Monday October 31, 2016

The working group of public officials and civil society stakeholders has released its list of 14 draft commitments for Australia’s first action plan as it prepares to join the 70-nation Open Government Partnership.

The public will have 14 days to comment before the commitments go back to cabinet for final approval. Details on information sessions in capital cities are available at the OGP Australia blog.

Theme 1: Transparency and accountability in business

We will enhance Australia’s strong reputation for responsible, transparent and accountable business practice.

  1. Improve whistle-blower protections in the tax and corporate sectors. We will improve whistle-blower protections for people who disclose information about tax misconduct to the Australian Taxation Office. We will also consult on other reform options to strengthen and harmonise whistle-blower protections in the corporate sector with those in the public sector. Led by Treasury. Legislate by the end of 2017.
  2. Beneficial Ownership. We will consult with the corporate sector, non-government organisations and the public on a beneficial ownership register for companies. Led by Treasury. Recommend to government by the end of 2017.
  3. Natural Resource Transparency. We will work together to enhance disclosure of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining. Led by Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Commence validation to become Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative standard compliant by mid-2019.

Theme 2: Open data and digital transformation

We will advance our commitments to make government data open by default and to digitally transform government services.

  1. Release high-value datasets and enable data driven innovation. We will work with the research, not-for-profit and private sectors to release high-value public datasets and drive social and economic outcomes. Led by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Develop the High-Value Dataset Framework by the end of 2017.
  2. Build and maintain public trust to address concerns about data sharing. We will develop an ongoing and collaborative conversation with the community to build public trust around data sharing and integration. Led by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Adopt the International Open Data Charter by early 2017. Establish an expert panel to advise government and to help communicate value and utility of data sharing and integration by mid-2017. Develop an engagement process to demonstrate public-value examples and enable an ongoing dialogue with the community by the end of 2017.
  3. Digitally transform the delivery of government services. We will continue to invest in digital technologies to make government services simpler, faster and cheaper. Led by Digital Transformation Agency. Whole of government digital transformation roadmap by early 2017 and agency-level roadmaps by the end of 2017.

Theme 3: Access to government information

We will improve and modernise the way in which the public accesses government information.

  1. Information management and access laws for the 21st century. We will ensure our information access laws are modern and appropriate for the digital information age. Led by Attorney-General’s Department. Propose preferred model for framework informed by consultation outcomes by late-2017, and implement the model if required by mid-2019.
  2. Understand the use of Freedom of Information. We will work with states and territories to collect and publish uniform data on public use of freedom of information access rights in Australia. Led by Australian Information Commissioners and Ombudsmen. Publicly release dataset on 2015/16 metrics of information access rights by the end of 2017.
  3. Improve the discoverability and accessibility of government data and information. We will make it easier for the public to find and use government data and information through central portals and digital platforms. Led by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Finance, National Archives of Australia and Department of the Environment and Energy. PM&C to revamp data.gov.au by late 2017 and provide collaborative tools for open data by mid-2018. Finance to launch GrantConnect and the pilot of the digital corporate and administrative reporting platform by late 2017. Archives to lead whole-of-government move to digital information practices, and increase records available in digital, including WWII and passenger arrival records, by late 2018.

Theme 4: Integrity in the public sector

We will improve transparency and integrity in public sector activities to build public confidence and trust in government.

  1. Confidence in the electoral system and political parties. We will work with the parliament and the public to investigate the conduct of the 2016 election, use of technology in elections and the framework of donations to political parties and other political entities. Led by Department of Finance and Australian Electoral Commission. Recommendations from the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will be considered in 2017.
  2. National Integrity Framework. We will collaborate with the corporate sector, non-government organisations and the public to strengthen our national anti-corruption and integrity framework. Led by Attorney-General’s Department. Hold a government-business roundtable on corruption in first half of 2017 and consider options arising from it by mid-2017.
  3. Open Contracting. We will undertake a public review of the Australian Government’s compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard. Led by Department of Finance. Implement measures to improve compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard, if required, by August 2017.

Theme 5: Public participation and engagement

We will improve the way the Australian Government consults and engages with the Australian public.

  1. Delivery of Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan. We will ensure that Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan is a platform for ongoing dialogue, collaboration and open government reform. Led by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Establish a permanent multi-stakeholder forum by July 2018.
  2. Enhance public participation in government decision making. We will work together to improve public participation in government decision making for better policy development and service delivery outcomes. Led by Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Develop and implement a whole-of-government framework for public participation and engagement by mid-2017. Undertake pilot public participation initiatives, including working with the Digital Transformation Agency to more effectively use digital channels for engagement by July-2018.

For comparison, here are New Zealand’s OGP action plan commitments from 2014.

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