Government information management and Australia's open government reforms will be strengthened with the release of the Principles on open public sector information,  launched recently by Australian Information Commissioner Professor John McMillan .

Professor McMillan said that publication of public sector information marks a significant shift in open government practice.

"There is now greater recognition that government information is a national resource that should be published for community access and use," Professor McMillan said.

"These Principles set out the central values of open public sector information – that it be freely available, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable and reusable."

Open government rests on the premise that transparency and public access to government information are essential elements of a strong democracy.

Government benefits from increased information-sharing and community involvement in policy formulation, regulation and program administration. The community can assist government by providing evidence to support decision-making and evaluating service delivery performance.

"A free flow of information between government, business and the community can also stimulate innovation to the economic and social advantage of the nation," Professor McMillan added.

The Principles, developed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) through a process of public consultation, draw on considerable work in Australia and overseas into best practice government information management.

They will be applied by the OAIC when monitoring agency compliance with the publication requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). Please see the Principles attached.

The report, Principles on open public sector information: Report on review and development of principles (May 2011), is available at