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Tasmanian News

Australia's most secretive state

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The state Liberals maintain they're addressing secrecy concerns after a scathing Ombudsman's report blew the lid on our tight-lipped government agencies.

Richard Connock has found bureaucrats knocked back nearly one in three right to information requests - by far the highest rejection rate in the country, almost double that of next-placed Queensland.

The Ombudsman report highlighted that government agencies frequently disregard Right of Information laws, and were guily of missing deadlines, and not providing adequate justifications for the witholding of information.

Mr Connock explained that the rates of rejection in the state have been steadily increasing.

“This rate of refusal was nearly twice that of the next-highest jurisdiction (Queensland at 16 per cent) and 750 per cent that of Australian’s most open jurisdictions (Victoria and the NT both at four per cent)."

Minister Guy Barnett has told Tasmania Talks there's no conspiracy of silence.

"It's an arms-length process assessed by independant members of the public service, totally seperate to politicians and members of the government."

"As a government we have increased the funding to the Ombudsman."

The Premier says he'll meet with Tasmania's ombudsman, Richard Connock, to listen to his concerns about government secrecy.

Peter Gutwein maintains all requests are assessed at arms length from government.

"The previous premier made a committment, and a concerted effort to improve openess and accountability of government decision making, and that committment stands."

"It will start with a discussion from Richard Connock, and go from there."

The Liberal Government came under fire for the results of the report, and Mr Gutwein's assurance of transparency was met with laughter in parliament.

Mr Gutwein also assured, that while the public service is seperate from parliament, he was committed to ammending the issue. 

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