There is a serious need for Victoria to introduce a number of integrity reforms that will hold both the Government and the departments accountable.
A lack of transparency has meant that more freedom of information (FOI) requests were lodged in Victoria than any other jurisdiction in Australia, including the Commonwealth. It has become an attitude among departments to withhold information and reject FOI requests. In fact, a record 42,249 requests were lodged in Victoria in 2020-21, and the state is expected to exceed that record again.
“It forces us to ask, how can we hold the Government accountable when they won’t tell us what they are doing or why?”
A consequence of this lack of transparency means FOI requests are fought out in VCAT where the Government recklessly spends taxpayer money paying lawyers to hide what should be public information. This also undermines their responsibility to behave as a model litigant.
It is no wonder that there is a lack of public trust. We must focus on shifting this culture of secrecy and rebuilding public trust in our government and institutions.