As part of its campaign for the long overdue Northern Veloway, on 9 November the CBD BUG lodged a Right to Information (RTI) application with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to obtain documents relating to the proposed cycleway.
On Friday the department advised it will refuse the application, on the grounds that it would be an ‘unreasonable diversion of the department’s resources’. The department has offered to make selected documents available to selected members of the BUG on a confidential basis if the BUG withdraws its RTI application.
With an election not too far off, the government appears to be very keen to tightly control the release of information. We believe this is in direct opposition to its stated support for the principles of openness, accountability, and ready access by the community to information held by the government. We have no reason to believe that allowing the government to continue to sit on its plans for the Northern Veloway would be in the interests of cyclists or the wider community.
The CBD BUG is still in negotiations with the department about releasing the requested information.
Update (23 Dec 2011): The department has provided us with an updated notice of their intention to refuse our request. The new notice includes details of the estimated work to process the request, which is indeed significant. We are continuing to work towards a solution for release of information that will be agreeable to both parties.