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29 May 09 Submission on Freedom of Information reform

The Taxation Institute has lodged its submission on Freedom of Information Reform with the Privacy and FOI Policy Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The submission responds to the exposure drafts of the Information Commissioner Bill 2009 and the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Bill 2009).

The Taxation Institute supports the policy objectives of the proposed freedom of information reforms outlined in the exposure drafts. However, the Taxation Institute is concerned about the following two issues:
  • the operation of the proposed FOI Reforms in the context of the taxation system, and
  • the privacy and security of taxpayers' information which is provided to the Government.
For reasons set out in its submission, the Taxation Institute submits that the proposed FOI Reforms and privacy reforms should be amended so that the relevant legislation:
  • specifically requires the ATO to publish any information that is relevant to a taxpayer satisfying its taxation obligations
  • mandates that all such information will be publicly accessible promptly and free of charge, and
  • protects the security of taxpayers' own information which is in the Government's possession.
For a copy of the Taxation Institute's submission go here.

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