Thursday 25 June 2009

Moves to free Australian Public Sector Information

The Victorian Parliament’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee (“EDIC”) has released a report recommending the freeing of access to Public Sector Information. Bruce Bannerman and I tabled an OSGeo submission for this report, as did a number of other enlightened organisations.
Anne Fitzgerald summarises the situation well, (note that Anne has submitted an abstract about Open Data for the FOSS4G conference):
I, Brian Fitzgerald and other research collaborators (including those working within the Queensland Treasury’s Office of Economic and Statistical Research) made verbal and written submissions, which are extensively referred to with approval by the committee throughout its report. This is a very important report, as it is the first in Australia to consider in depth the issue of access to Public Sector Information, and is likely to provide the template for work by the Federal and other [Australian] State/Territory governments. The report recommends that the Victorian Government should establish an Information Management Framework, with open access to Government information at no or marginal cost as the default position.
Donna Benjamin noted on the Open Source Industries Australia email list some of the Open Source highlights:
Recommendation 42: That the Victorian Government require, as part of its whole-of-government ICT Procurement Policy, that software procured by the Government be capable of saving files in open standard formats, and that wherever possible, the software be configured to save in open standard formats by default.

Recommendation 43: That the Victorian Government ensure when preparing guidance for procurement, ICT personnel should be equally aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both OSS and proprietary software.

Recommendation 44: That the Victorian Government fully evaluate the Victorian Department of Justice open source software (OSS) workstation trial to assess the potential for wider use of OSS in Victorian public service workstations.

Recommendation 45: That the Victorian Government examine its policy for ICT Procurement to ensure that it continues to assist the Victorian ICT industry.

Recommendation 46: That the Victorian Government ensure where appropriate that tenders are neither licence specific nor have proprietary software-specific requirements; and meet the given objectives of Government.

For further information, read the press release at:
The report itself is at

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