International Access to Information Day 2021

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is calling for an open-by-design approach to managing government-held information as it marks International Access to Information Day on 28 September.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the COVID-19 pandemic had clearly demonstrated the value of sharing government information with the community in a timely and transparent way.

“Access to government information continues to be a critical tool to support the pandemic response and recovery, from public health measures to business and economic decisions,” Commissioner Falk said.

“This International Access to Information Day we are highlighting the need to consider access to information from the outset when developing public policy and projects and delivering services.

“Proactive release of information is central to open government, and helps to build greater trust with the community.

“By taking an open-by-design approach, governments encourage better informed decision-making and innovation and help everyone engage in our democracy.”

The OAIC joins UNESCO, Australian and international regulators, and other stakeholders in acknowledging the international day, which reinforces the importance of information access to accountability and public participation.

During an information session for the OAIC’s Information Contact Officers Network today, Commissioner Falk also detailed new Open by Design Principles released by Australian information access commissioners and ombudsmen.

“In line with the OAIC’s focus on encouraging proactive publication, the principles encourage all Australian governments and public institutions to commit to being open by design,” she said.

“They recognise that information held by government is a public resource. Appropriate, prompt and proactive disclosure of this information benefits both the community and the public sector.”

The OAIC has also developed a new consumer video resource with Australian jurisdictions to raise awareness of information access rights, at oaic.gov.au/updates/videos/access-to-information.

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