ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, will make public access to information the default position of her Government as the first step in increasing openness of Government. Measures include release of a weekly summary of Cabinet issues and decisions and creation of an Open Government Website, which will be used to release government background reports and reviews; provide public access to material released through Freedom of Information; and access to submissions made during public consultation.
The plans outlined in a Ministerial Statement to the Assembly today, are set to make the ACT Cabinet the most open in the nation and include a commitment to hold a Virtual Community Cabinet on Twitter next month.
"The ACT already has a strong foundation on which to further develop open government, for example we have the most open legislative framework for access to Cabinet documents in the country. We have always taken a proactive approach to communicating with the public, but we are ready to take the next steps.
"Open Government refers to a way of working, and rests on three principles; transparency in process and information; participation by citizens in the governing process and public collaboration in finding solutions to problems.
"Creation of an Open Government Website will provide a single gateway for access to Government information and engage Canberrans in the governance of the ACT and will be operational within three months. This will enable access to government material released through Freedom of Information through upload to the web once FOI requests have been released to the applicant.
"I will also release a weekly report on key issues discussed and decisions taken by the Cabinet, starting in the first week in July. This will make the ACT Cabinet the most open of any government in Australia. I want the community to be informed about the challenges and issues being considered by Cabinet.
"The Cabinet will also next month hold a Virtual Community Cabinet, where all Ministers will answer questions and respond to issues on Twitter. Harnessing new technology and reaching a more diverse range of Canberrans, who have previously not engaged directly with Government is symbolic of our new approach to open government.
"My statement to the Assembly today outlines what we intend to do as the first measures in promoting greater transparency in government. It will not stop here; we will continue to look and examine all the opportunities available to us to build upon this commitment," the Chief Minister concluded.