Freedom of Information

Government transparency is not cheap in the Northern Territory. Unfortunately the public is being denied access to key documents, such as the Mine Management Plan.  The government maintains the document is the property of Xstrata and they do not have the power to release it. A fairly pathetic excuse for a second term government with a massive majority. Makes you wonder who’s running the show, the Martin Government or Xstrata?

This story today (below) from the ABC shows the price of information. The Environment Centre Northern Territory also made an FOI request but could not afford the price of transparency, some $560. 

NT demands $600 for FOI request for McArthur River mine
The company behind the controversial McArthur River mine expansion near Boroloola is objecting to a Freedom of Information request for the document that sets out what it has agreed to.

Xstrata and the Territory Government signed off on the Mine Management Plan, which governs the conversion of the McArthur River Mine to open cut.

The move requires diverting five kilometres of the McArthur River, something that is opposed by traditional owners and environmental groups.

The Territory Government is asking for more than $600 to process the request for the document and says the fee is neither exorbitant or unreasonable.

The ABC’s application was made under the Territory’s new Freedom of Information laws which the Government has said would guarantee open and transparent decision making.


3 responses to “Freedom of Information

  1. so,
    did the abc get the goods?
    or was the mining company successfully able to hide their dirty details behind the veil of commercial confidientiality?

    why should environmental management issues, which are of essential interest to the public, be afforded this sort of protection?
    why aren’t these important requirements untied from any genuinely confidential information, so that the public can see what has been agreed between the miner and government??

  2. Larry kia,

    No the ABC hasn’t got the goods yet. Hopefully they will and then hopefully they’ll share it with all of us. I would love to publish the interesting bits here.

    If Xstrata follow their current form they will probably try to hide all of their details,

    Environmental documents should be public documents, at least thats what should happen in a fair, honest and open democracy – but then the NT Government has never aimed that high. When Xstrata says jump, they jump.

    The NT Government does not want the public to know!


  3. I don’t get it. Who does this government represent?
    Surely the document which details how our resources are being managed is a matter of public interest. If we are not granted free access to this information then how are we to function as a democracy?
    How is the Australian citizen supposed to make informed decisions if our very own government allows such information to remain hidden or at least not openly disclosed?

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