Recap: Right to Know Week NSW 2021
Right to Know Week this year took place from 27 September – 3 October 2021. The theme was ‘Open by Design: integrity through greater transparency and accountability in government’.
Open by Design requires agencies to actively address access to all forms of information from the inception of any initiative. Embedding access, transparency and accountability from the outset means better information governance and a more open government.
Launch of Right to Know Week
The Information Commissioner launched Right to Know Week NSW 2021 with the virtual session, Open Government – Transparency and Accountability, on 27 September.
The session was opened by the Attorney General, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Hon. Mark Speakman SC MP. The online session involved discussion about the findings from an analysis of 10 years of data to determine if the ambitions of legislators – to ensure that NSW has the best information access laws – has been achieved and how the right to know under the GIPA Act is operating in practice.
The guest speakers brought diverse government and non-government perspectives, and included:
- Elizabeth Tydd, NSW Information Commissioner, IPC CEO and NSW Open Data Advocate
- Serena Lillywhite, CEO, Transparency International Australia
- the Hon. Peter Hall QC, Chief Commissioner, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
- Tom Burton, Government Editor, Australian Financial Review (and facilitator for the event).
InfoGovANZ event: Opening Government – Contemporary Opportunities and Challenges
InfoGovANZ celebrated International Access to Information Day and Right to Know Week 2021 with its discussion on opening government, contemporary opportunities and challenges on Thursday 30 September.
Guest speakers included:
- Elizabeth Tydd, NSW Information Commissioner, Information and Privacy Commission NSW
- Sven Bluemmel, Victorian Information Commissioner, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.
- Susan Bennett, Executive Director of InfoGovANZ (facilitator).
ICIC and UNESCO event: The Importance of Independence and Efficiency of Oversight Bodies & Legal Frameworks
In celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Information Commissioner spoke on the online panel event hosted by the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) and UNESCO on 28 September. The event highlighted the importance of access to information laws and their implementation to build back strong institutions for public good and sustainable development.
10 years of GIPA data
During Right to Know Week NSW 2021, the Information Commissioner released a report with analysis, key findings, and recommendations from ten years’ of GIPA data since inception of the Act.
The GIPA Act requires agencies to identify and report on the kinds of information held by the agency and to describe the ways in which decision-making functions affect members of the public.
Read the IPC Media Release for more information on the 10 years of GIPA data.
Community Attitudes Survey on information access
During Right to Know Week the Information Commissioner released the results of research on NSW Community Attitudes to accessing government information for Right to Know Week NSW 2021. Citizens were surveyed to gauge the value that they place on the right to access information and assess their experience in exercising that fundamental right.
Read the media release announcing the results of the survey.
For Right to Know Week NSW 2021, the IPC has developed an animation for citizens to help them understand the four pathways citizens can take to seek access to information held by NSW public sector agencies. Watch it below:
You can also download and share it here.
The IPC has a number of resources to assist NSW public sector agencies in understanding their responsibilities under the GIPA Act:
- Animation on the right to access information in Australia jointly developed by the Association of Information Access Commissioners
- Guideline 10 – Obligations of Ministers and Ministerial Officers under the GIPA Act
- Fact Sheet – Accessing a deceased person’s information under the GIPA Act
- Fact Sheet – Public officials and personal information under the GIPA Act
- Checklist – Open access information under the GIPA Act and GIPA Regulation - agency requirements
- Processing Charges GIPA Compliance Report, updated Notice of Decision Template and new Request for Advance Deposit Template
Resources can be downloaded from the Right to Know Week NSW 2021 webpage.
This year a total of 49 agencies joined the RTK Champion Program to support the campaign. The IPC would like to thank Champions for helping spread awareness of citizens’ information access rights and agencies’ responsibilities under NSW information access legislation.
Although Right to Know Week NSW 2021 closes, NSW public sector agencies must remain committed to being Open by Design. An Open by Design approach recognises that information is a vital asset to both government and citizens. See the IPC’s agency information access resources here.
You can also learn more about your rights to access government held information in NSW on the IPC website.