State Government running “state of secrecy”: SA-BEST

17 July 2019

SA-BEST today accused the Marshall Liberal Government of running a “state of secrecy”.

SA-BEST MLC and Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, made the accusation amid growing frustrations with the number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests his office has had refused or held up by the State Government.

It comes on top of the revelation by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that a recent FOI request it lodged seeking information on the government’s statewide audit of buildings with potentially combustible aluminium cladding had been refused.

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) knocked back the ABC’s application on the grounds “that public interest is not served in the release of the information.”

“The State Government seems to be running a state of secrecy,” Frank said.

“It came to power on the back of a more open, transparent and accountable government,” he said.

“What we are seeing through its continual blocking and stalling of FOI requests is the complete opposite – its Freedom FROM Information!

“I am deeply concerned at the pitiful excuse DPTI has given the ABC for refusing its application.

“All South Australian taxpayers have a right to know how many buildings – including those they have paid for and own – in SA do or don’t have flammable cladding materials that don’t meet safety regulations.”

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017 in which 72 people were killed, the SA Government last year undertook an audit of buildings with potentially combustible cladding.

The audit found the new RAH, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Convention Centre all posed a low or moderate risk.

Announcing the results of the audit, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Stephan Knoll, said: “The new State Government is committed to being open and transparent with the people of South Australia and that’s why we’re releasing this information.”

Frank said: “The Minister and his government have a duty of care to the people of SA to release the information sought by the ABC.

“SA-BEST too has experienced this obstinate attitude from various state government departments with our own FOI requests,” he said.

“We’re being told the government has been overwhelmed by a large number of FOI requests – mostly from the Opposition and crossbench MPs – blowing out the timeframe for responses, but that is no excuse.

“I will raise my concerns with the Premier when he returns from his holiday.

“South Australians deserve better from their government.

“This state of secrecy attitude only breeds contempt of the government and raises the suspicions of the community in what the government is hiding by not wanting to make public such information.”

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