Connect with us


FOI Commisioner resigns citing information roadblocks



The Commonwealth Freedom of Information Commissioner has quit less than 12 months into his five-year appointment, in frustration over roadblocks to getting hold of government information.

Leo Hardiman

Leo Hardiman announced his resignation, effective on May 19,  in a statement on his LinkedIn page.

He described the Commonwealth FOI system as an important check on the integrity and apolitical nature of the public service and said timely access to information was essential for it function properly.

Mr Hardiman said he has been attempting to lead changes in the way the Commonwealth’s FOI systems are managed to speed up access to government information.

This included clearing the current backlog of Information Commissioner reviews, he said.

“I will continue to focus on the implementation and bedding down of these changes throughout the remainder of my appointment,” Mr Hardiman said.

“Further changes are, however, necessary in my view to ensure that the timeliness of IC reviews and, consequently, access to government-held information, is increased.”

Mr Hardiman said it wasn’t within his power as FOI Commissioner to make those changes.

“I have come to the view that I will not be able, in the absence of those changes, to increase timeliness of IC reviews and access in a way which best promotes the objects of the FOI Act,” he said.

“I have accordingly decided the most appropriate course is to resign my appointment.”

Backlog of cases

Angele Falk

A Budget estimates hearing earlier this year heard there were thousands of outstanding FOI reviews, many going back at least five years, and more than 200 dating back to 2019.

During the February 13 hearing Information Commissioner Angelene Falk said her office was currently trying to clear a backlog of 2,010 matters.

She told the committee the OAIC was dealing with “year-on-year increases to the numbers of IC reviews without commensurate increase in resources.”

Greens Senator David Shoebridge, who had pursued the matter during the hearings, said on Tuesday that Mr Hardiman’s resignation showed the federal FOI system had become dysfunctional as a result of “systemic underfunding and a culture of cover-ups”.

The post FOI Commisioner resigns citing information roadblocks appeared first on Government News.

Source link