Open government update: all talks to go with action

By Stephen Easton

Thursday February 23, 2017

The action part of Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan is “well underway” as public consultation on various related initiatives draws to a close and agencies prepare to get to work on their respective roles in the process.

First up, according to an update published by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet yesterday, is a review of tax and corporate whistleblower protections published by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, in December. Public submissions, which were accepted up until February 10, will be available via the joint parliamentary inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Another Treasury paper, on increasing transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies, is still open for public comment until March 13, and the Attorney-General’s Department is putting the finishing touches on some similar work of its own.

Going towards the open government commitment to fight white-collar crime, AGD is preparing discussion papers on foreign bribery law reform and a possible deferred prosecution scheme, which will come out soon. The department is also in the middle of talks with lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, jewellers, “trust and company service providers” and others who might be affected by measures to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing, which include proposed regulation of digital currencies.

Finally, PM&C is holding a very broad consultation process for anyone in the “research, not-for-profit and private sectors” to speak up about what they would like to flow from the commitment to “release high-value datasets and enable data-driven innovation” including roundtable discussions — email [email protected] to register — and a short survey that allows for long answers.

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