Open Government Partnership and National Action Plan


What is Open Government?

Open Government involves the opening-up of government processes, proceedings, documents and data for public scrutiny and involvement, and is now considered a fundamental element of a democratic society. As stated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),

People are demanding transparency, accountability, access to information and competent service delivery from their governments. They also expect policies and services to be tailored to their needs and address their concerns.

Greater government transparency and public participation in policy development can lead to better policies and services. These Open Government initiatives can also promote public sector integrity, which is essential to building the trust of citizens in the neutrality and reliability of public administration.


How does Open Government relate to the FOI Act?

A significant component of Open Government is legislation to enshrine a person’s right to access information and to require agencies to assist the public in that process. The public expects government decision-making to be open, transparent and accountable and the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) (the FOI Act) represents part of WA Parliament’s commitment to realising that expectation.

In section 3 of the FOI Act, Parliament makes it clear that the objects of the 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.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia noted in Water Corporation v McKay [2010] WASC 210 per Martin J at paragraph 38 that the objects of the FOI Act ‘form the essential bedrock of open, democratic government whose policy importance cannot be overstated’.


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.


Open Government Partnership and National Action Plans

The multilateral Open Government Partnership (OGP) was created to secure commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness technologies to strengthen governance. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) includes 77 countries and 106 local governments – representing more than two billion people – and thousands of civil society organizations.


Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18

On 7 December 2016, the Australian Government announced the finalisation of Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan. The Plan contained 15 ambitious commitments focused on: transparency and accountability in business; open data and digital transformation; access to government information; integrity in the public sector; and public participation and engagement.

State and Territory Information Access Commissioners and Ombudsmen, led by New South Wales, contributed to the development of the Plan through the inclusion of Commitment 3.2 on information access rights utilisation.

Information on the National Metrics developed under Commitment 3.2 is available here.


Open Government National Action Plan 2018-20

Australia's second Open Government National Action Plan was released on 21 September 2018. The plan seeks to:

  • strengthen the national anti-corruption framework;
  • enhance the transparency of political donations and funding;
  • improve the sharing, use and reuse of public-sector data;
  • improve public service practices using place-based approaches;
  • enhance state and territory participation in the Open Government Partnership;
  • enhance public engagement skills in the public service;
  • engage Australians in the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service; and
  • expand open contracting and due diligence in procurement.

Further information on Australia’s involvement in the OGP, including the Plan, is available at

In 2019, as part of Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan 2018–2020, Information Access Commissioners from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, the Commonwealth of Australia and WA, and the ACT Ombudsman sponsored an information access study to measure citizens’ awareness of the right to access government information, and their experiences and outcomes in exercising that right. The information access studies have now been conducted three times.

Click here to read about the Information Access studies.


Australia’s Open Government National Action Plan 2024-25

The third Open Government National Action Plan, released in December 2023, includes the following commitments:

  • Create transparency in the use of automated decision making and responsible use of artificial intelligence
  • Improve public participation of youth in government
  • Further strengthen integrity within the Commonwealth public sector
  • Build a pathway towards a beneficial ownership register
  • Increase accountability and transparency in procurements and grants
  • Improve protections for public sector whistleblowers
  • Strengthen transparency in political donations and political advertising
  • Improve media literacy in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including to counter the impacts of mis- and dis-information

These commitments were chosen by Australia’s Open Government Forum (Forum) on the basis that, across all 30 topics considered, they are the areas upon which the Forum’s monitoring role will have the greatest impact. They will be implemented across 6 different ministerial portfolios, and the Forum will meet in 2024 and 2025 to monitor their implementation.

The full Action Plan, with details of each commitment, is available here (PDF, 846KB).