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FOI advocates well represented in Gov 2.0 Steering Group

by Paris Cowan •
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The Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) has assembled a formidable team ofFreedom of Information (FOI) advocates to form a Steering Group that will oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Gov 2.0 Taskforce.

The Gov 2.0 Steering Group will be chaired by Australian Government CIO Ann Steward, who also acted as Deputy Chair on the Taskforce.

John Sheridan, another representative of Finance’s Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), has also been appointed to the group.   Sheridan is the First Assistant Secretary in charge of AGIMO’s Agency Services division, which, among other things, manages many of the ICT platforms that facilitate Gov 2.0 practice, such as the blogging platform, Govspace.

The Steering Group’s FOI credentials have been bolstered by the membership of Information Commissioner Designate Professor John McMillan.   A vocal advocate of FOI reform, McMillan has vowed to support a ‘pro-disclosure’ culture in Government during his commissionership.

He will be joined by Siu-Ming Tam from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Tam heads up the ABS division that oversees the collection and dissemination of national data sets.   He was instrumental in the agency’s adoption of Creative Commons licensing conditions on many of its statistical collections in order to facilitate the innovative reuse of this data.

Margaret Chalker, who is in charge of Government Information Management at the National Archives (NAA), will bring her own breadth of experience when it comes to the publication of Government information.

Less predictable is the appointment of Human Services CIO John Wadeson to the group.  This could indicate an expansion of Gov 2.0 strategies at the Department, which includes Medicare and Centrelink.

The rest of the group includes:

  • Annwyn Godwin, Merit Protection Commissioner for the Australian Public Service Commission;
  • Richard Windeyer, First Assistant Secretary in charge of Digital Economy Strategy at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE);
  • Alison Lendon, First Assistant Secretary in charge of Business Solutions at the Australian Tax Office (ATO);
  • Dr Wendy Southern, First Assistant Secretary of the Government Division at the Department of Premier and Cabinet; and
  •  Kym Duggan, First Assistant Secretary, Priorities and Coordination Division at the Attorney General’s Department.

As well as providing leadership for the implementation of Gov 2.0 strategies, members of the steering group are expected to act as ‘champions’ for Gov 2.0 principles by advocating them within their respective agencies.

However, the make-up of the Group means that several large Federal agencies will not have a Gov 2.0 Champion. These include the Department of Health and Ageing, Defence and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

The Group will meet monthly, and in the spirit of open government, intends to publish all minutes, proceeding and decisions that do not compromise privacy or security.

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  • Federal
  • Policy
  • ABS
  • Ann Steward
  • ATO
  • dbcde
  • Finance
  • Gov 2.0
  • Govspace
  • John Sheridan
  • John Wadeson