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What is the Right to Information?
The Right to Information Act 2009 commenced on 1 July 2010 and provides for greater access to information held by government bodies. It:
- Authorises and encourages greater routine disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications.
- Authorises and encourages greater active disclosure of information held by public authorities in response to informal requests without the need for applications.
- Gives members of the public an enforceable right to information held by public authorities.
- Provides that access to information held by government bodies is restricted in only limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.
The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts is a public authority.
Why do we have a Right to Information Act?
The Act states that:
(1) The object of this Act is to improve democratic government in Tasmania by:
- increasing the accountability of the executive to the people of Tasmania; and
- increasing the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance; and
- acknowledging that information collected by public authorities is collected for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania and is the property of the State.
(2) This object is to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers.
(3) This object is also to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information about the operations of Government.
(4) It is the intention of Parliament that:
- this Act be interpreted so as to further the object set out in subsection
- discretions conferred by this Act be exercised so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the provision of the maximum amount of official information.