Sweeping Changes to FOI Laws

Application fees will be scrapped, cabinet documents will be made available sooner and a pro-disclosure culture encouraged under a Rudd Government overhaul of Freedom of Information laws announced today. Under the changes, announced by Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State John Faulkner in Sydney, all application fees will be abolished, and all charges for a person seeking access to their own information will be removed. The first hour of decision-making time will be free for all FOI requests, and there will be a five-hour charge-free decision-making period for requests made by not-for-profit organisations and journalists. Cabinet documents, which are currently kept secret for 30 years, will be available after 20 years, and the period for which cabinet notebooks are kept under wraps will be shortened from 50 to 30 years

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