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Government 2.0 Taskforce calls for comment

by Staff Writers •
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The Government 2.0 Taskforce today released their draft report on how the Australian Government can utilise ‘web 2.0’ technologies for final public comment.

Chaired by Dr Nicholas Gruen, the Taskforce asks the public to comment on the substance of the report, titled Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0. The invitation to comment closes at 5pm 16 December 2009.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner and Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig established the Taskforce in June to investigate how the Australian Government can use ‘web 2.0’ approaches to expand the uses of Commonwealth information and to improve the way government engages with citizens.

The draft report says "the greatest barrier to Government 2.0 is cultural. Leadership on the issue of more open disclosure and engagement is the key driver of cultural change".

A key tenet of the Rudd Government has been an effort to increase the transparency and utilisation of Web 2.0. The report highlights the desire to utilise the experience and ideas in the public and private sectors to make government more "open and effective".

The Taskforce was asked to:

  • Advise on how responsibilities should be assigned and coordinated to promote greater information disclosure, digital innovation and online engagement.
    • Recommendation: nominate a lead agency to take responsibility for Government 2.0 policy and provide leadership, guidance and support to agencies and public servants.
  • Advise on building an online innovation culture to ensure that agencies are open to the use of new collaborative technologies and that efficiencies and knowledge are shared across government.
    • Recommendation: the lead agency should provide guidance to improve the extent and quality of online engagement.
  • Advise on how government can be made more consultative, participatory and transparent to ensure that the views, knowledge and resources of the community are utilised.
    • Recommendation: APS employees should be actively encouraged and empowered to engage online.
  • Asked to investigate extending opportunities for the reuse of government information, and on what terms, to increase its beneficial use.
    • Recommendation: make public sector information free, based on open standards, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable and freely reusable.
  • Asked to consider how developing and managing government information could be used to encourage greater disclosure of public sector information.
    • Recommendation: any decision to withhold the release of PSI, other than under a legal obligation to do so, should only be made in conformity with policies endorsed by the proposed new Office of the Information Commissioner.
  • Asked to advise Government on structural barriers and policies to promote greater information disclosure, digital innovation and online engagement.
    • Recommendation: agencies should seek policy guidance or case by case guidance on the licensing of PSI either before its release or in administering licences after publication from the proposed new OIC
  • The Taskforce was invited by the Government to identify policies and frameworks that would assist the Information Commissioner and other agencies.
    • Recommendation: to protect the personal information of individuals, the Privacy Commissioner should develop guidance on the de-identification of PSI before it is released; and to protect the commercial-in-confidence information of businesses, the proposed new OIC should develop guidance on the de-identification of PSI before release.

The invitation for comment closes 5pm 16 December 2009. The report is available on the Government 2.0 Taskforce’s blog.

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