News 19th July 2018

Australia’s second national action plan: moving to final stages

by Peter Timmins

The consultation on the draft plan concluded on 8 July.

The Open Government Forum met in Canberra on 12 July.

The next and final step in this process is government decision making, culminating in Cabinet consideration of the plan before it is submitted and released publicly next month.

Thank you to those who attended the two public gatherings in Canberra and Melbourne and others who commented or lodged submissions on the PMC website. Notwithstanding low numbers- PMC says 60 altogether- many of the inputs are significant contributions and deserve serious consideration.

The Community Council for Australia, Ratepayers Australia and the Australia Institute are welcome new participants in the OGP discussion. A hat tip to the 14 network members who signed a Joint Submission. And to those who spent many hours on this particularly Sonya Sherman, the
Open Contracting Partnership and the related personal submission from May Miller-Dawkins, Barbara Reed, Dr Colleen Lewis, Australian Citizens Against Corruption, Cameron Shorter
and Dr Dale Quinlivan.

The answer to the consultation question posed-are the commitments specific relevant and ambitious-was clearly ‘No.’  There is no shortage of suggestions about what needs to be done to make them so.

We await with interest to see what the Forum made of it all. Minutes are yet to be published.

I understand civil society members raised concerns about the process to date and the vague nature of draft commitments.

Papers for the meeting, published on the day the Forum met do not include a summary or assessment of submissions that closed only four days before, but provide updated reporting on some commitments in the first plan, and a later version of the draft plan than that released for comment. This draft reflects further inputs from government agencies. An improvement in some respects, but  still a long way short of public expectations.

At the end of the day the plan is the government’s open government reform agenda for the next two years.

All will become clear in August !