The Andrews Labor Government has again been exposed as being obsessed with secrecy rather than being open and accountable.
Victoria’s Information Commissioner has ruled the government has no right to withhold vital documents that go to the heart of the government’s botched COVID-19 response and its failed contact tracing system.
The Commissioner found there was no basis for the continued attempts by the Premier and his Ministers to withhold documents in response to an FOI request, made by the Shadow Minister for Health over 12 months ago. The documents must now be made public.
Not only did the Commissioner find the Department had no right to refuse releasing the documents, but it also failed to locate several documents from the initial FOI request.
It’s clear the Department of Health is either wilfully withholding key documents sought through FOI requests or it is incompetent when it comes to locating documents and reviewing exemptions under the FOI Act, or both.
This is yet another example of the Andrews Labor Government refusing to release documents that have informed its COVID-19 response.
It also failed to disclose several important documents to the Coate Inquiry before being compelled to do so.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:
“This decision highlights yet another example of Labor’s incompetence, its disregard for transparency and accountability, and the Premier’s ongoing secrecy and obfuscation.
“The Liberal Nationals welcome the decision to release these documents so that Victorians can fully understand what went wrong with contact tracing.
“Victorians deserve and expect full transparency when it comes to decisions being made by the Andrews Labor Government during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around its failed contact tracing system.
“It is an utter disgrace that this government has again attempted to withhold important information from Victorians. It’s time the Premier and his Ministers comply with the Information Commissioner’s decision and releases the documents.”