The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is pushing to bring truly open government to Australia.

ALGA is urging all parties to make submissions on Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan.

The Federal Government has expanded the deadline for public submissions on the plan that seeks to create a new level of transparency, accountability, integrity, access and data analysis.

The plan is part of Australia’s commitment to the international Open Government Partnership.

Non-government stakeholders have been developing the draft Plan since November 2015, and an Interim Working Group of senior public servants and non-government stakeholders was also established in August 2016 to draft the Plan and its commitments.

The Open Government Partnership has a deadline for submitting National Action Plans at the end of this year.

The Government says it is on track to submit Australia’s draft to the Open Government Partnership, and is giving interested parties until November 18 to make their submissions.

More information is available here.

The plan breaks down into five main themes:

  • Transparency and accountability in business;
    • Improve whistle-blower protections in the tax and corporate sectors.
    • Consult on a register of beneficial ownership of companies.
    • Work towards compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to enhance disclosure of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining.
  • Open data and digital transformation;
    • Work with the research, not-for-profit and private sectors to release high-value datasets and drive social and economic outcomes.
    • Engage with the community and improve privacy risk management capability across government to build public trust around data sharing and integration.
    • Deliver a whole-of-government digital transformation roadmap and a live dashboard measuring the performance of government services.
  • Access to government information
    • Consider options for reforms to the framework for managing and accessing government information (including the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Archives Act 1983 and, where relevant, the Privacy Act 1988) to deliver a simpler and more coherent framework within the context of digital government.
    • Improve understanding of the public’s use of freedom of information by working with the states and territories to collect and publish uniform data.
    • Improve the discoverability and accessibility of government data and information through central portals and digital platforms.
  • Integrity in the public sector
    • Work with the parliament and the public to investigate the conduct of the 2016 election, use of technology in elections and the framework of donations to political parties and other political entities.
    • Strengthen our national anti-corruption and integrity framework, including regularly reviewing the jurisdiction and capabilities of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and the Australian Federal Police’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre.
    • Undertake a public review of the Australian Government’s compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard.
  • Public participation and engagement
    • Establish a permanent forum for dialogue with civil society to monitor implementation of the National Action Plan and inform the drafting of future National Action Plans.
    • Develop a whole-of-government framework to improve public participation in government decision making for better policy development and service delivery.