Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Secretive Victorian government sets up toothless freedom of information watchdog

Federal government figures say the calculations in the press release overestimate the expected costs [of Australia's carbon tax] and ignore compensation to be offered to some.

Using freedom of information laws, the state [Labor] opposition asked Mr O’Brien’s Department of Primary Industries for all modelling and briefings behind the press release.

Four months later the department wrote back, denying access to all documents

The Baillieu government this year will put in place a freedom of information watchdog. It will not have powers over ministers or department heads, will be unable to review decisions relating to secret cabinet documents, and could ultimately result in longer delays.  

Baillieu hides carbon tax documentsThe Age, Clay Lucas, January 10, 2012 THE Baillieu government has been accused of using ”laughable” excuses to block the release of economic modelling it used to attack the Gillard government’s carbon tax.

The government cited public interest and privacy issues as reasons it will not hand over calculations behind a media release by state Energy Minister Michael O’Brien last July. The press release, titled Julia Gillard duds Victorians again, lashed the federal Labor government over its carbon tax plans.

It warned the tax would take ”up to $450 from the pocket of each Victorian”.

The press release predicted, as a result of the tax, annual power
price rises for everyone from a metropolitan pizza shop ($550) to a
suburban hairdresser ($825) to a country pub ($875).

The figures were given to the Herald Sun newspaper the night before
their wider release, and ran on the paper’s front page.

Federal government figures say the calculations in the press release
overestimate the expected costs and ignore compensation to be offered
to some.

Using freedom of information laws, the state opposition asked Mr
O’Brien’s Department of Primary Industries for all modelling and
briefings behind the press release.

Four months later the department wrote back, denying access to all
documents because they were ”in the nature of opinion, advice or
recommendation” made during government deliberations. For this
reason, the documents were not in the public interest to release, the
department’s freedom of information officer wrote. He said some
documents would unreasonably disclose personal affairs of public
servants who worked on them……
The case will cast more doubt on Mr Baillieu’s commitment to genuinely
reform the state’s freedom of information laws – a key election
promise.
In 2010, Mr Baillieu attacked the Brumby government for its attitude
to freedom of information, which had ”made it extremely difficult to
obtain a clear and truthful understanding of the government’s
activities”.
The Baillieu government this year will put in place a freedom of
information watchdog. It will not have powers over ministers or
department heads, will be unable to review decisions relating to
secret cabinet documents, and could ultimately result in longer
delays.   http://www.theage.com.au/environment/baillieu-hides-carbon-tax-documents-20120109-1prv0.html#ixzz1j6AWhFL6

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January 10, 2012 - Posted by | secrets and lies, Victoria |

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