International Access to Information Day 2021
The 2021 theme for IAI Day theme is Open by design, highlighting the importance of governments considering how to make information accessible from the start – building information access considerations into policy development, projects and service delivery and seeking opportunities to proactively release information.
International Access to Information Day also promotes the value of access to information in fostering innovation and helping everyone participate in our democracy.
Open by design principles - joint statement from members of the AIAC.
On 24 September 2021 members of the AIAC issued a Statement of Principles to support proactive disclosure of government-held information.
The media statement about the Statement of Principles is available here.
Message from the Commissioner
IAI Day is an opportunity to recognise and promote the community’s right to access government-held information and the importance of that right in a democratic society. Timely and low-cost access to government-held information is a key mechanism for government accountability and transparency.
In Western Australia, the laws requiring government to keep records and provide access to information includes the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act (WA)) and the State Records Act 2000.
The objects of the FOI Act are to enable the public to participate more effectively in governing the State and to make the persons and bodies that are responsible for State and local government more accountable to the public. For this reason, when dealing with requests for documents or making decisions under the Act, agencies are not merely complying with an administrative process. They are dispensing justice to the people of Western Australia.
One of the most effective things agencies can do to achieve the objects of the Act is to disclose information outside the FOI process unless there is a good reason not to do so. This can be done by proactively publishing information, or by providing requested information without the need for a formal FOI application.
Even a formal access application does not prevent agencies from engaging in open and meaningful dialogue with an applicant with a view to finding an outcome which meets the person’s needs. For example, an applicant may be able to obtain access to the requested documents more quickly and at less cost if the applicant agrees to exclude unwanted information from the scope of the application.
Today governments operate in an environment of increasing amounts of information, often created and stored digitally. In this environment there are evolving community expectations about access to that information. The challenge for government is to build information access into its processes and decision-making from the start – to be Open by Design.
I encourage government officers and members of the public to consider participating in at least one of the activities planned in Australia and across the globe to understand the role each individual can play in promoting and exercising the right to access information.
Explaining and celebrating the right to access government held information
View our IAID video, which acknowledges IAI Day and the importance of open government and access to government-held information. Information access jurisdictions in Australian collaborated to produce the animation: Please feel free to share it widely.
1990 State Cabinet records available online
To mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information, State Cabinet records from 1990 are now available to access online through the State Records Office. The media release with the relevant links is here.
IAI Day Events
Solving problems with data - the 2021 Solomon Lecture.
This lecture will be available to view online from 28 Septemer or join the OIC to view for a screening of the 2021 Solomon Lecture on 30 September 2021 at 9:30am. This will be followed by discussion, morning tea and a Q and A about FOI in WA. Registration is free but essential as numbers are limited.
Monday 27 September
10.00am – 10.20am (AEST)
(8:00am Perth time)
OVIC launch – International Access to Information Day 2021 - live virtual launch for OVIC;s week of celebrations. Victoria’s Information Commissioner, Sven Bluemmel, will highlight why access to information is critical to our democracy and a fundamental pillar of open and accountable government. – Register <here>
(9:00am Perth time)
The launch of NSW Right to Know Week 2021 and celebration of the 10 years of the operation of the Government Information and Privacy Act t in NSW will include an examination of the operation of the GIPA Act since its introduction and the current NSW public sector landscape to preserve citizens’ rights to access to government information and elevate transparency.
Panel discussion with government and non-government perspectives from:
- Elizabeth Tydd, NSW Information Commissioner, Information and Privacy Commission CEO and NSW Open Data Advocate
- Serena Lillywhite, CEO, Transparency International Australia
- The Hon. Peter Hall QC, Chief Commissioner, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption
- Tom Burton, Government Editor, Australian Financial Review as facilitator.
Tuesday 27 September – International Access to Information Day
Available online from 9:00am (AEST)
The 2021 Solomon Lecture – Solving Public Problems with Data – Professor Beth Simone Noveck (more info <here>)
Join a screening of Solomon lecture on Thursday 30 September with OIC WA in Perth
11.00am – 11.40am (AEST)
(9:00am Perth time)
Lightning Talk: What makes a good FOI Request?
Online event offered by OVIC’s Public Access Team to discuss what makes a good FOI request, provide helpful tips for members of the public when making an FOI request, and explore how agencies can provide practical assistance and guidance. Register <here>
Wednesday 29 September
10.30am – 11.30am AEST
(8:30am Perth time)
Panel Discussion: Breaking down the culture of FOI – Opportunities for Chance
OVIC Information Access Series webinar - This panel discussion will explore two recent OVIC reports on the culture of administering FOI in Victoria and creating behavioural change to promote and enhance proactive and informal release of information.
- Joanne Kummrow – Public Access Deputy Commissioner, OVIC
- Professor Ben Richardson – Private Consultant, NSW Evaluation DataLab
- Associate Professor Johan Lidberg – Monash University
- Lisa Scholes, Department of Families Fairness and Housing
Thursday 30 September
9:30 – 11:30 Perth time
Screening of the 2021 Solomon lecture followed by an FOI Q&A session with the Information Commissioner.
State and local government officers are invited to join the Information Commissioner to view a screening of the 2021 Solomon Lecture – Solving Public Problems with Data followed by an opportunity to ask questions about FOI in WA. Morning tea will be provided.
Registration is essential – Register <here>.
(11:00 am Perth time)
Opening Government – Contemporary Opportunities and Challenges
Join NSW Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd, Victorian Information Commissioner, Sven Bluemmel and facilitator InfoGovANZ Founder & Executive Director, Susan Bennett for a discussion on opening government – contemporary opportunities and challenges.
This event is free for members and subscribers, find out more about membership here.
Other resources about International Access to Information Day 2021
This page will be updated as events and resources become available.
Joint statement from the AIAC in 2020