Saturday, March 11, 2017

Greens accuse State Government of RTI breach over delays in Safe Pathways information request

The Mercury‎‎: Tasmania: Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the Right to Information response was received late on Thursday but all relevant information had been excepted from release.
Ms O’Connor had raised the delay in State Parliament the previous day.
The request related to financial information about Safe Pathways, which was engaged by the government until December when 11 children were removed from its care.
“Clearly, every effort was made to provide a response that provided the minimum of information,” Ms O’Connor said.
“There’s no question that the government is in breach of the Right to Information act, it broke the law in relation to our RTI request and we believe it’s because it doesn’t want to tell Tasmanians how much money was spent on a for-profit provider which we still maintain neglected children in its care.”
Ms O’Connor said she would appeal to the Ombudsman.
Right to Information expert Rick Snell agreed the Government had breached the act.
“Three months in the handling of any [right to information] request is unreasonable, especially when at the end of the day you get very little information back,” he said.
“It borders on contempt, and it certainly is neglect.”
A Government spokesman said RTI requests were handled at arm’s length by RTI officers.
Labor child safety spokesman Josh Willie claimed Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma misled parliament earlier in the week over statements that another care provider, Key Assets, had been under investigation since January.
Mr Willie claimed Key Assets said it was first contacted by the department to respond to allegations raised by its foster carers on Thursday, rather than in January.
Ms Petrusma disputed the claims.
She said her department received and investigated a complaint from a carer about Key Assets in January, and a further investigation began after a second email from the foster carer outlining additional concerns was received last Saturday.