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Government scolded over bid to keep operations of Brisbane Olympics body secret

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Queensland’s information commissioner has slammed a move by the Palaszczuk Government to keep the functions of the organising committee for the 2032 Olympic Games secret.

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Rachael Rangihaeata says there was no “compelling case” for the Government’s decision to exempt the operations of the organising committee from Right to Information laws.

In a submission to the parliamentary committee examining the enabling legislation for the Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics organising committee, Ms Rangihaeata says such a move is “inconsistent” with the spirit of Right to Information laws.

The legislation exempts from the RTI Act any document “that is created, or received, by the Brisbane Organising Committee for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in carrying out its functions under the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Arrangements Act 2021”.

The Government argues the move is justified “given the sensitive nature of some of the documents that will be developed in connection with the performance of the Corporation’s functions, such as commercial-in-confidence information in relation to the Corporation’s local marketing program”.

It says the laws covering the operation of the organising committee for the 2000 Syddey Olympics had a similar provision.

However, Rangihaeata said that legislation was introduced nearly 30 years ago.

“This Bill must reflect and be consistent with contemporary Queensland RTI laws…which represented significant reform of information access in 2009,” she wrote in her submission.

“Community expectations are high, with 86 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed indicating in 2021 that the right to access information was important.”

She said it was critical that there was a “appropriate balance” between the public’s right of access to information and liming that access on public interest grounds.

“It is critical that individual legislative proposals are considered in the context of the broader policy and departures from such are clearly justified.”

“In this case the Explanatory notes do not provide a compelling case to justify an exclusion from the operation of the RTI Act.”

The parliamentary economics and governance committee will hold a public inquiry into the Olympics legislation on Monday.

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