Education Dept defends blocking FOI request
The ACT Education Department has defended its move to block a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for documents related to the Government's decision to close 23 schools.
The ACT Opposition and a parent from the now-closed Mt Neighbour Primary School have lodged FOI requests to get access to documents relating to the school closures.
The requests were going to be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal today, but last week the Education Department issued a conclusive certificate to block the requests.
The department says it has done so because releasing the documents is contrary to the public interest.
But Opposition education spokeswoman Vicki Dunne says the Government has something to hide.
"When things get inconvenient they will use every element of the law to close down the inquiry," she said.
Education Minister Andrew Barr has distanced himself from the action, saying the decision to issue a conclusive certificate was made by the department.
Mt Neighbour parent Kathleen Barden has vowed to continue to fight for access to documents relating to the closures.
She says the Education Department is attempting to block the release of the documents.
"It's the sort of action that you would expect to only happen rarely and in this case it's really denying the public the information that we've been seeking," she said.
It is now up to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to decide if the action is reasonable.
Education Dept defends blocking FOI request. 13/02/2007. ABC News Online
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