The Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan, has launched the government's eight Principles on open public sector information.
According to McMillan, the principles — which have been developed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) through a process of public consultation — recognise government information as a national resource that should be published for community access and use.
"These Principles set out the central values of open public sector information – that it be freely available, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable and reusable," McMillan said in a statement.
With the principles government would benefit from increased information-sharing and community involvement in policy formulation, regulation and program administration, McMillan said.
"A free flow of information between government, business and the community can also stimulate innovation to the economic and social advantage of the nation," he said.
The new principles include concepts such open information being a ‘default position’ within government.
“If there is no legal need to protect the information it should be open to public access. Information publication enhances public access,” principle one reads. “Agencies should use information technology to disseminate public sector information, applying a presumption of openness and adopting a proactive publication stance.”
Principle two requires agencies to engage the community online in policy design and service delivery, while principle four calls on agencies to carry out robust information asset management.
The full list of principles is available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner site.