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International Access to Information Day is on September 28 and this year’s theme is ‘Open by design: government transparency everyone can see’. The theme recognises the value of proactively releasing information, particularly in times of crisis and recovery.
As Queensland public servants, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities when it comes to information access.
The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) is about more than just formal access applications. It’s about building community trust and confidence in government through greater openness, accountability and transparency.
So, what is proactive disclosure and how does it deliver better outcomes?
The public have a right to access government held information, unless there is a good reason for it not to be provided.
Government agencies must release information unless it would not be in the public interest to do so.
Releasing information before being asked is called Proactive Disclosure — it reduces time and resources involved in processing individual information requests, gets information into the community faster and demonstrates your agency's commitment to open, accountable and transparent government.
Using a proactive disclosure model to push information out supports individuals and the community:
- to stay informed
- by reducing misinformation
- by providing them with ways to stay safe
- to advocate for change
- to make informed decisions about matters affecting them.
This is particularly important during times of crisis and recovery, like a pandemic. Well informed and connected communities are known to be better prepared, recover sooner and become stronger than ones without access to timely and accurate information.
Read more about proactive disclosure on the Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland website.