Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Stimulus cash via state goverments who hide infrastructure documents: WRONG!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-07


A major problem with the KRudd Blegabuck Infrastructure Stimulus is that it promises to fast-track everything, and gives wads of cash to state premiers who not only cannot manage to run trains in warm or cold weather, but are prone to hide infrastructure planning documents for 50 years, not the mere 30 for federal Cabinet documents.

This might be appropriate for military documents, but not for states that have no military role according to the Constitution.

Any money KRudd hands over to the states should be conditional that all documents (apart from tenders until the contract is awarded) should be made available IMMEDIATELY to the public.

What’s worse, not only has Lynne Kosky, Transport Minister, hidden 7 years worth of Spencer Street/Southern Cross Station Redevelopment Project Files for 50 years (The Age 2009-02-06), when you search for “Kosky”, either by the Search page at the Victorian Government Gazette Website, she cannot be found.  Google can’t find Kosky there either!

Has Google been prevented from searching those documents?

Eventually, after manually grovelling through the menus on the Gazette website, I found Kosky’s offensive action in page 221 of G6 2009-02-05.

It is a PDF, and a HTML version should have been provided… wouldn’t have been hard!

The hiding of the blegabuck project documents was "tucked away" between a list of people applying for licenses to be private investigators and an amendment to planning rules in the city of Casey.

Even though this is a major infrastructure project relating to transport, you’ll see below in the copy I’ve published, that Kosky has signed it not as Minister not for Transport, but the Arts.

Yep, that’ll make even harder to find, which is what closed government is all about.

Not only should KRudd make sure the documents for his fast-tracked no-governance infrastructure rush be made public as soon as possible, the 50-year lockdown power should be taken away from the states.

It’s particularly galling as the station will probably be completely rebuilt within 50 years anyway.

Anyway, here’s the notice:

Public Records Act 1973

DECLARATION OF RECORDS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION

Whereas section 10AA of the Public Records Act 1973 provides, inter alia, that:

The Minister by notice published in the Government Gazette may declare that any specified records or records of a class transferred or to be transferred from a public office to the Public Record Office shall not be available for public inspection for a period specified in the declaration, initially being a period of 50 years from the date of their transfer to the Public Record Office Victoria.

I, Lynne Kosky, Minister for the Arts, do now by this notice declare that the records listed on the schedule below shall not be available for public inspection for a period of fifty years from the date of their transfer to the Public Record Office Victoria.
Dated 30 December 2008

LYNNE KOSKY
Minister for the Arts

SCHEDULE A

VPRS No. VPRS Title Date Range
16021/P0005 Spencer Street/Southern Cross Station Redevelopment Project Files 2000–2007

Try searching through the gazette yourself.  If you aren’t happy, then email your complaint to gazette_feedback@craftpress.com.au and see if they lose your email too.


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3 Responses to “Stimulus cash via state goverments who hide infrastructure documents: WRONG!”

  1. Dave Bath said

    I just checked whether the whole gazette.vic.gov.au site blocks search engines.

    Given that there IS a search page, I tried looking for the word "Search"

    Yep, it comes up here.

    This means that the PDFs are blocked by well-behaved search engines that respect a “no robots” indicator, which has to be defined INTENTIONALLY on real webservers like Apache, but gazette.vic.gov.au runs MS-IIS 5.0 (which may have different robot defaults)

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