There were a range of issues:
Some former ministers and senior civil servants that the Act was having a “chilling effect” on policy discussion in government
I have been listening to arguments that FOI will inhibit free and frank advice and may induce people not to record the reasons for decisions for over 20 years. Public servants are paid to give free and frank advice and should be held accountable for it. That is not to say mistakes are not made. But people should endeavour to do their best and face the consequences of their decisions. Claims such as the higher the level of public servant giving advice the more protected the document should be has long been defeated in Australian courts.
Higher fines should be imposed for destruction of information or data and the time limit should be removed on prosecution of these offences
Recordkeeping legislation and good governance requires the proper recording of why decisions are made and the retention of those records. As part of the recordkeeping process should be protected and stored in such a way that they can be readily located when the need arises. This practice would reduce the incidences where records cannot be located.
If, on the other hand, it is the hiding of records or falsely claiming they cannot be located to avoid possible embarrassment, then the individuals concerned need to be made an example. This is particularly important if the offenders are middle to senior management. If such actions are not challenged and punished it sends a message to all staff that the FOI Act can be ignored or treated with contempt.
It is extremely difficult, especially when some managers lend lip service to the support of the FOI legislation, to give the necessary support to FOI Officers, particularly when they are junior to middle managers.
Being an FOI Officer is difficult as you often feel the organisation sees you as the enemy in some ways. It is also difficult to find someone to talk to about what, is,, after all, a very specialised field.
The law should be amended to protect universities from having to disclose research and data before the research has been published
In Australia all research is protected if release of the information could prejudice the conduct, effectiveness or integrity of any research by revealing its purpose, conduct or results (whether or not commenced and whether or not completed).
All public bodies subject to the Act should be required to publish data on the timeliness of their response to freedom of information requests
This is part of the statistical reporting requirements for all agencies in New South Wales (Australia).
Where public authorities publish disclosure logs, the names of those requesting information should be included.
This is the practice in New South Wales.