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About information policy

What is information policy?

Information policy is about how government handles and uses the information that it holds (public sector information). The Freedom of Information Act 1982 states that information held by the Australian Government is a national resource, and is to be managed for public purposes.

The Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 provides that the Australian Information Commissioner has the function of reporting to the Attorney-General on how public sector information is:

  • collected
  • used
  • disclosed
  • managed
  • administered
  • stored
  • accessed.

In practice, this means that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) advises the Australian Government on how to:

  • be more open, accountable and transparent
  • make public sector information accessible, discoverable and useable
  • collect, use and manage public sector information efficiently
  • make public sector information more readily and freely available to the public to maximise its reuse and value
  • give citizens new opportunities to engage in, and develop, Australian Government processes and policies.

More information about the functions of the OAIC and what the OAIC does can be found on About us.

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Declaration of Open Government

In July 2012, the Australian Government made the Declaration of Open Government. This Declaration committed the Australian Government to promoting greater participation in Australia’s democracy:

  • based on a culture of engagement
  • built on better access to, and use of, government held information
  • sustained by the innovative use of technology.

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Principles on open public sector information

The OAIC has developed the Principles on open public sector information to assist agencies implement best practice information management. The OAIC encourages agencies to embed these principles in their internal policies and procedures on information management. This will help build a culture of proactive information disclosure and community engagement.

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International open government movement

The implementation of effective information policy is supported by the international open government movement. The Open Government Partnership is an international initiative that seeks to make governments more transparent, effective and accountable. 

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