The Rann Government has embarked on a deliberate campaign to delay responding to critical freedom of information applications until after the coming state election, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
“In November this year the Liberal Party lodged a number of Freedom of Information applications with the Department for Trade and Economic Development and the 30-day statutory deadline for responding expired on 28 December,” he said.
“However, just before Christmas the Department advised that the CEO of the Department Mr Garrand had determined that 30 applications would all be delayed until Wednesday 22 March which conveniently is just 4 days after the election date!
“Mr Garrand’s controversial appointment as CEO of the Department of Trade and Economic Development attracted a lot of criticism at the time because of his very close associations with the Labor Party.”
Some of the critical FOI requests the Rann Government is attempting to hide include:
• Correspondence between the Auditor General and the Deputy Premier and CEOs of agencies reporting to the Deputy Premier;
• Minutes and papers presented to Economic Development Board, Export Council and Defence Industry Advisory Board;
• Documents relating to the Regional Development Infrastructure Fund; and
• Documents relating to the government campaign to attract people from the eastern states to move and live in SA.
“A number of other agencies have sought reasonable delays in the due date or have negotiated priorities with the Liberal Party if they have a number of applications to process,” Mr Lucas said.
“However with these applications the DTED has just said it will not handle any of these until after the election.
“One can only assume that the Rann Government would be politically embarrassed if some of these documents were released before the election.
“There is simply no reasonable argument that none of these 30 applications can be processed within four months!
“As a result of this outrageous behaviour the Liberal Party has now lodged an appeal to the Ombudsman to try and stop the Rann Government from hiding these documents until after the election.”