Michelle Lensink

Labor Abuses FOI Process

The Weatherill Government has reached news lows of secrecy, vindicating yet again that nothing has changed after 10 years of Labor.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Michelle Lensink has accused the Labor Government of abusing the Freedom of Information process, one of the few practical tools MPs have left to get information out of the Government.

“I routinely submit FOI requests to many Government offices and agencies and they’ve always liked to play games, but the process has now become farcical,” Ms Lensink said.

“I received a determination from the Environment Protection Agency this week, which was not only dragged out over four months, but also completely ignored the actual scope of my request – it was effectively worthless information.

“I submitted the request because I was concerned about a tip-off regarding the rate of illegal dumping. Something the limited information I received vindicates.

“It appears there is a real problem, among others, with the illegal dumping of asbestos. I think South Australians need to know if individuals are allowed to dump toxic asbestos products near their homes without consequence, or pump waste down stormwater drains.

“Prior to that I received a determination from the Environment Department which took just as long and astonishingly my office was notified by DENR a couple of days later that what I received was false information. That’s four months of tax-payer funded work wasted.

“Frankly I’m sick and tired of playing games with this dishonest and deceitful Labor Government over information that South Australians have a right to know about.

“Of course let’s not forget that MPs would not have to resort to FOIs if Ministers would bother to properly answer our questions in Parliament.

“This Weatherill Government has turned Freedom of Information requests into a symbol of the past 10 years of Labor – wasteful, contemptuous and dishonest. And for that I condemn them.”

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