Rudd Govt announces "broad ranging" FOI reform

Federal Cabinet Secretary, Senator John Faulkner, has announced the first stage in what he called "broad ranging" Freedom of Information (FOI) law reform.

Senator Faulkner said Cabinet has already agreed to abolish conclusive certificates, with the enabling legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this year.

The government also plans to release an exposure draft of FOI reform legislation for public comment and consultation later this year containing proposals for implementing broader FOI reforms. It will include the establishment of an FOI Commissioner, Senator Faulkner's statement said, and other measures to improve and streamline the FOI Act.

The government will be seeking submissions on the exposure draft from any interested persons, with a view to introducing the final legislation in 2009.

As a result of today's announcement, the Attorney-General has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) not to proceed with its inquiry into FOI laws at this time.

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