No transparency by mikeholy

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									                                                            TRANSPARENCY

BACKGROUND

The Integrity and Accountability discussion paper outlined public sector transparency measures including reporting requirements for Members of
Parliament, Ministers and public sector entities. The recently enacted Right to Information Act 2009 implemented significant reforms to the
Government‟s approach to the management of information. The new legislation is based on the over-riding principle that the community has a
right to access information held by government, unless it is contrary to the public interest to do so.

The Right to Information reforms are based on a move towards a “push” model of information disclosure where information is regularly and
proactively published, with formal application under the legislation designed to be an act of last resort. Agencies are now required to establish
publication schemes which set out their information holdings and to publish non-personal information released to applicants on disclosure logs.

The discussion paper posed two questions regarding transparency:

      Is information about the decision making processes of Government sufficiently available?
      How else could this information be made available to the public?


RESULTS OF CONSULTATION

A total of 55 submissions addressed the issue of transparency, including submissions from the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith
University, the Clerk of the Parliament, the Crime and Misconduct Commission, the Queensland Greens Policy Working Group, the Integrity
Commissioner and the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council and a number of individual submitters. The individual submitters included
submissions arising from an Amnesty International forum on integrity and accountability. The table below summarises the submissions received
on this issue.

While some submitters noted the positive effects of the recent Right to Information reforms, many submissions expressed the view that the
Cabinet confidentiality is misused in order to prevent the release of information. There was a general view that the processes or reasoning
behind Government decision-making were not transparent or clearly communicated and explained to the public. There was particular concern
expressed about development decisions or designation and approval of major projects.

In order to enhance the transparency of Government decision-making, submitters suggested enhanced publication of information either online, on
print or broadcast media, or by distribution (e.g. through libraries). Two of the submissions noted that the Commonwealth Government 2.0
agenda, which is examining the use of public sector information and new online engagement methods, should be considered by the Queensland
Government in order to enhance transparency.
SUGGESTIONS

Specific suggestions for improvements included:

      Reform development application process to require publication of detailed reasons for approval or rejection of development applications,
       addressing all concerns raised during public consultation and disclosing all dealings between developers and government (Amnesty
       International template and Queensland Greens Policy Working Group).
      All Government decisions at variance with official departmental advice should be accompanied by a statement of the rationale for the
       decision (Crime and Misconduct Commission, Gold Coast City Council and Corruption Prevention Network).
      Political parties should be considered public institutions with transparency obligations which are therefore subject to enhanced modes of
       public scrutiny of operations (Jen Tsen Kwok).
      Increase public scrutiny of public expenditure including Ministerial and Parliamentary allowances and gifts and hospitality (Information
       Commissioner).
      Amend the Right to Information Act 2009 to apply to all Government Owned Corporations (Queensland Ombudsman).
      Publish all Cabinet minutes within 72 hours of Cabinet consideration (Save the Mary River Coordinating Group).
      the Crime and Misconduct Commission should undertake annual reviews of Government‟s responses to their recommendations (Irene
       Moss).
No.         Submitter Name            Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes          Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                      of Government sufficiently available?                             to the public?
1     Mr Michael Ventnor              No. Section 4.14 of the Cabinet handbook ("Security and
                                      management of Cabinet information"), should be removed.
                                      With documents declared "cabinet-in-confidence", people
                                      suspect that government has something to hide. To ensure
                                      transparency, section 4.14 should be deleted, or at least
                                      reformed, to make it very difficult for any government
                                      document to remain confidential.
5     Mr Gary Scanlan                 Yes. despite considerable public assertions that suggest          The provision of any relevant and material information should
                                      otherwise, not many people would actually read the detail of      be available on the relevant Departmental website, to avoid
                                      the process involved and, in many cases e.g. where the            possible „misinterpretation‟ by third parties e.g. media.
                                      decision has relied on expert evidence in particular fields,      Perhaps there is also a possibility to allow the public to raise
                                      wouldn‟t understand it if they did.                               questions through that website although the RTF processes
                                                                                                        already exist and the costs of such an exercise would be
                                                                                                        considerable.
11    Mr James and Ms Kath            No. It is too easy for governments to hide information e.g.       As much information should be made public. Perhaps cabinet
      Robertson                       commercial in confidence or the use of cabinet to stop FOI.       should table all documents and minutes in the same manner
                                      Possibly it should be a requirement that all government           as Parliament, and made available on the web. Their
                                      contracts be made public and all documents prepared for           obviously needs to be some limits as to what is released such
                                      cabinet should be subject to FOI. It is the public‟s money        as personal details belonging to individuals and security
                                      invested in governments so the public should have the right to    threats. However final decisions on what should be made
                                      know how their money is being managed and why decisions           available to the public should not rest with politicians or
                                      are made.                                                         Departments but rather independent experts.
13    Dr Stanley Robinson             The principle of publicity should apply.
15    Mr Colin Hambrecht                                                                                More use of government website and print media for public
                                                                                                        notices.
23    Mr Dave Milligan                No.                                                               Cabinet minutes to be made available within 72 hours -
                                                                                                        subject to commercial in confidence exemption (which ends
                                                                                                        once become successful tenderer).
26    Rev Dr Noel Preston AM                                                                            Suggest publishing in newspaper current Ministerial code of
                                                                                                        ethics.
31    Ms Alison Christou              Complete public exposure of all public spending should occur.
36    Mr Peter Kinsella               No - should be synopsis of how decision arrived at.               Minister, department and local member websites is a starting
                                                                                                        point.
40    Moreton Bay Regional Council    Yes.
50    Mr John Van Der Klugt           No.                                                               Public library and Saturday's paper.
51    Mr Ian Smith                    Not sure.                                                         Don't carry it through Cabinet.
58    Corruption Prevention Network   Certain Ministerial interventions should be publicly registered   Cabinet confidentiality is a barrier - but statements of reasons
                                      and public servants should be required to list documents used     may be a good thing.
                                      in reaching decisions.
No.          Submitter Name            Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes           Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                       of Government sufficiently available?                              to the public?
64    Ms Maree Klemm (joint            The public should have readily accessible information about        Reforms should be made to government policy so that: with
      submission with Kate Ogg) –      the call for tenders and expressions of interest and the           every development application, Queensland residents have a
      Amnesty International template   decision-making processes involved in approving                    formal avenue to voice their concerns about the impact; the
                                       development applications. More transparency and                    relevant Minister must take into account these concerns when
                                       independent review of government decisions in land use and         considering whether to approve the development, and permits
                                       development permits are desirable. There should be greater         and conditions for the development application; the relevant
                                       disclosure of conflicts of interest, related party transactions,   Minister must publish the reasons why the development
                                       and "in-house" dealings between parties with the same              application was approved or rejected, specifically addressing
                                       political affiliations or financial interests.                     the concerns raised; the decision-maker should list all persons
                                                                                                          and organisations who made representations and the
                                                                                                          occasion when those representations were made; and
                                                                                                          decisions arising from public tendering and "expressions of
                                                                                                          interest" processes should be made public with a level of
                                                                                                          detail commensurate with that required in the applications.
68    LGAQ                             No.                                                                The transparent processes that apply to local government
                                                                                                          should apply to state government decision makers.
71    Mr Peter R Taylor - Amnesty      The public should have readily accessible information about        Reforms should be made to government policy so that: with
      International template           the call for tenders and expressions of interest and the           every development application, Queensland residents have a
                                       decision-making processes involved in approving                    formal avenue to voice their concerns about the impact; the
                                       development applications. More transparency and                    relevant Minister must take into account these concerns when
                                       independent review of government decisions in land use and         considering whether to approve the development, and permits
                                       development permits are desirable. There should be greater         and conditions for the development application; the relevant
                                       disclosure of conflicts of interest, related party transactions,   Minister must publish the reasons why the development
                                       and "in-house" dealings between parties with the same              application was approved or rejected, specifically addressing
                                       political affiliations or financial interests.                     the concerns raised; the decision-maker should list all persons
                                                                                                          and organisations who made representations and the
                                                                                                          occasion when those representations were made; and
                                                                                                          decisions arising from public tendering and "expressions of
                                                                                                          interest" processes should be made public with a level of
                                                                                                          detail commensurate with that required in the applications.
73    Centenary and District           The public should have readily accessible information about        Reforms should be made to government policy so that: with
      Environment Action               the call for tenders and expressions of interest and the           every development application, Queensland residents have a
      Incorporated - Amnesty           decision-making processes involved in approving                    formal avenue to voice their concerns about the impact; the
      International template           development applications. More transparency and                    relevant Minister must take into account these concerns when
                                       independent review of government decisions in land use and         considering whether to approve the development, and permits
                                       development permits are desirable. There should be greater         and conditions for the development application; the relevant
                                       disclosure of conflicts of interest, related party transactions,   Minister must publish the reasons why the development
                                       and "in-house" dealings between parties with the same              application was approved or rejected, specifically addressing
                                       political affiliations or financial interests.                     the concerns raised; the decision-maker should list all persons
                                                                                                          and organisations who made representations and the
                                                                                                          occasion when those representations were made; and
                                                                                                          decisions arising from public tendering and "expressions of
                                                                                                          interest" processes should be made public with a level of
                                                                                                          detail commensurate with that required in the applications.
No.          Submitter Name                Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes           Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                           of Government sufficiently available?                              to the public?
79    Mr Benedict Coyne - Amnesty          The public should have readily accessible information about        Reforms should be made to government policy so that: with
      International template               the call for tenders and expressions of interest and the           every development application, Queensland residents have a
                                           decision-making processes involved in approving                    formal avenue to voice their concerns about the impact; the
                                           development applications. More transparency and                    relevant Minister must take into account these concerns when
                                           independent review of government decisions in land use and         considering whether to approve the development, and permits
                                           development permits are desirable. There should be greater         and conditions for the development application; the relevant
                                           disclosure of conflicts of interest, related party transactions,   Minister must publish the reasons why the development
                                           and "in-house" dealings between parties with the same              application was approved or rejected, specifically addressing
                                           political affiliations or financial interests.                     the concerns raised; the decision-maker should list all persons
                                                                                                              and organisations who made representations and the
                                                                                                              occasion when those representations were made; and
                                                                                                              decisions arising from public tendering and "expressions of
                                                                                                              interest" processes should be made public with a level of
                                                                                                              detail commensurate with that required in the applications.
82    Ms Chris Lawson                      No.                                                                As part of the Hansard or minutes of a local government
                                                                                                              meeting.
84    Centre for Governance and            Generally speaking, yes. However, program managers                 Information about government decisions and processes
      Public Policy, Griffith University   should make available the criteria that apply to all decisions     should be available on demand. In addition, simple and clear
                                           they make involving the potential for financial or other           instructions about ethical values, standards and practices
                                           benefits/penalties to members of the public, as well as details    whether in the form of brochures, websites or other material,
                                           of the processes involved.                                         should be available to every entity that interacts with
                                                                                                              government.
102   Clerk of Parliament                  Recognising that transparency, including the disclosure of
                                           interests, is an important weapon against misconduct, there
                                           should be a thorough review of the adequacy of disclosure by
                                           public officers, apart from members of parliament, who make
                                           important decisions in the public sector. The public disclosure
                                           of such interests should be considered as part of the review.
103   Environmental Defenders              Transparency of the electoral and decision-making process is
      Office (QLD) Inc                     needed i.e. all the information about the democratic process
                                           should be online in the one spot.
106   Crime and Misconduct                 Recommends that the announcement of all major government
      Commission                           decisions which are at variance with official department or
                                           agency advice, including the awarding of large contracts and
                                           all policy or administrative decisions having a material impact
                                           on the livelihood or wellbeing of any citizen, must be
                                           accompanied by a comprehensive statement of the rationale
                                           for the decision. Each rationale statement should be framed
                                           in terms of the reasons why this particular outcome is more in
                                           the public interest than the outcome recommended by the
                                           department or agency, should provide as much detail of the
                                           financial, environmental and social factors which determined
                                           the outcome as possible, and should be composed by the
No.         Submitter Name            Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes           Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                      of Government sufficiently available?                              to the public?
                                      persons responsible for making the decision.




114   LNP                             The LNP recommends that EARC be re-established and the
                                      matter of mandating that all public sectors vacancies have to
                                      be advertised be referred to it.
128   Birkdale Progress Association   No. The sense of duty to serve the people of seems to be
      Inc                             absent from Government with flow on effects through the
                                      public service.
131   Queensland Greens Policy        Providing the public with more information about government        Electronic document delivery in searchable PDF format
      Working Group                   decision making is vital. One particular area that needs           should be made available where possible. All development
                                      addressing is property development. There should be a              approval process documents should be available
                                      disclosure of any dealings between a property developer and        automatically rather than on request. Access costs for FOI
                                      government, political parties or independents when a ruling is     material should be substantially reduced.
                                      being made on development approval. Detailed explanations
                                      of why development approval is being fast-tracked are
                                      necessary. Important that there are no "commercial in
                                      confidence" agreements included in government tenders or
                                      Public-Private Partnerships.
132   Mr Louis Geurtsen                                                                                  A State report card using standardised performance
                                                                                                         measures should be made available with definitions
                                                                                                         standardised between the states.
133   Mr David Keogh                  The public should have readily accessible information about        Reforms should be made to government policy so that: with
                                      the call for tenders and expressions of interest and the           every development application, Queensland residents have a
                                      decision-making processes involved in approving                    formal avenue to voice their concerns about the impact; the
                                      development applications. More transparency and                    relevant Minister must take into account these concerns when
                                      independent review of government decisions in land use and         considering whether to approve the development, and permits
                                      development permits are desirable. There should be greater         and conditions for the development application; the relevant
                                      disclosure of conflicts of interest, related party transactions,   Minister must publish the reasons why the development
                                      and "in-house" dealings between parties with the same              application was approved or rejected, specifically addressing
                                      political affiliations or financial interests.                     the concerns raised; the decision-maker should list all persons
                                                                                                         and organisations who made representations and the
                                                                                                         occasion when those representations were made; and
                                                                                                         decisions arising from public tendering and "expressions of
No.          Submitter Name           Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes          Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                      of Government sufficiently available?                             to the public?
                                                                                                        interest" processes should be made public with a level of
                                                                                                        detail commensurate with that required in the applications.
134   Mr Andrew McMicking             Recent RTI reforms positive.
142   NCWQ                            No.                                                               A radio programme and the same thing being printed in the
                                                                                                        newspapers telling the public what is being considered.
150   Port of Townsville Limited      In the individual experience of the Port of Townsville, the       The most effective, efficient and cost-effective way of
                                      Right to Information reforms and the reports which are to be      releasing information is the push system created by
                                      published by statute provide sufficient information.              Government publication schemes.
153   Dr Linda Colley                 Information about the existing accountability processes should
                                      be publicised.
169   Gold Coast City Council         Suggests local government approach to decision making,
                                      including where council has to give a reason where a
                                      decisions made contrary to advice of council officers, should
                                      be adopted by Cabinet.
177   The Office of the Information   Recommend increased public scrutiny of public expenditure         Better publication of forthcoming projects, upcoming
      Commissioner                    including Ministerial and Parliamentary allowances and gifts      consultation and the forward policy agency; use of checklists
                                      and hospitality; review of Cabinet Handbook to require            to ensure compliance with Cabinet Handbook public
                                      publication of names of groups consulted during policy            consultation requirements; and lists of agency file titles to be
                                      development; and publication of public submissions received       tabled and added to agency publication schemes.
                                      during consultations.
179   Mr Bob Longland                 Recommend improved disclosure requirements for political
                                      campaign expenditure.
181   Queensland Ombudsman            RTI Act should be amended to apply to all GOCs.
184   Sam Scanlon                                                                                       FOI legislation should be premised on public's right to know -
                                                                                                        Government should have to argue to court to keep matters
                                                                                                        secret only in the public interest and for no more than 5 years.
                                                                                                        Cabinet documents should be released automatically at end
                                                                                                        of each Government's term.
185   Save the Mary River             No. Cabinet secrecy is taking away credibility of transparency.
      Coordinating Group              Cabinet minutes must be made available to the public within
                                      72 hours.
188   Gold Coast and Hinterland       Accessibility is fourth major issue to be addressed in Green
      Environment Council             Paper. Government should provide more opportunities for
                                      public and NGOs to have genuine access to Ministers and
                                      senior public servants. Government should genuinely consult
                                      with residents of local government areas before taking over
                                      infrastructure projects and recognise concerns about growth
                                      and treatment of development proposals. Ministers should
                                      respond to letters from the public within three weeks.
191   Jen Tsen Kwok                   Political parties should be considered public institutions with   Policy initiatives flowing from Commonwealth Government 2.0
                                      transparency obligations to authorise and enhance other           agenda should be publicly considered by the Government.
                                      modes of public scrutiny of political parties' operations.
No.         Submitter Name           Q23 - Is information about the decision making processes            Q24 - How else could this information be made available
                                     of Government sufficiently available?                               to the public?
192   Sunshine Coast Environment     Designation of significant projects by Coordinator-General
      Council                        under State Development and Public Works Organisation Act
                                     lacks transparency.
193   Dr David Solomon               Addressed through passage of RTI Act but need to consider
                                     how information is made available to community. Should
                                     consider recommendations to Commonwealth Government
                                     2.0 agenda but this is only about internet access.
194   Anonymous 1 - Community        Yes.
      survey
195   Robert Beno                    Somewhat, but not in a meaningful way.
203   Anonymous 2 - Community        Yes.
      survey
208   Dave Milligan                  No. False and misleading information is constantly being
                                     released by the Government, with particularly reference to the
                                     disclosure of inaccurate information relating to the costs of the
                                     Traveston Crossing Dam.
210   Michael Ahrens, Transparency   Government is largely opaque to those who deal with it              Should be much greater emphasis on ensuring public
      International Australia        regularly. Should be an overt commitment by the Premier to          servants and Ministers understand the policy process and are
                                     transparency, processes and structures designed to enhance          committed to opening the process to broad, genuine
                                     transparency, and personal and institutional investment in          discussion with stakeholders and the general community.
                                     ethical development are critical to improving Queensland
                                     decision-making.
220   Anonymous 3 - Community        No.
      Survey
221   Anonymous 4 - Community        Yes.
      Survey
222   Anonymous 5 - Community        No.
      Survey
223   Anonymous 6 - Community        Yes.
      Survey
224   Anonymous 7 - Community        No.
      Survey
225   Anonymous 8 - Community        No.
      Survey
226   Irene Moss                                                                                         CMC should undertake a annual review of Government‟s
                                                                                                         responses to their recommendations – this is done by ICAC.
                                                                                                         CMC could undertake diagnostic audits to give a department
                                                                                                         a score on their commitment to accountability measures – this
                                                                                                         could be publicly released.

								
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