Australia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018
The Australian government has made significant progress on implementing the commitments in its first national action plan. Implementation led to major changes in practice in policy areas such as combating corporate crime, improving the accessibility of government-held information, and enhancing public participation in decision making. However, the majority of commitments had generally marginal or no discernible effect on opening up government, often correlating with limited completion.
|Table 1: At a Glance|
|Mid-term||End of term|
|Number of Commitments||15 15|
|Level of Completion|
|Number of Commitments with…|
|Clear Relevance to OGP Values||15||15|
|Transformative Potential Impact||0||0|
|Substantial or Complete Implementation||5||10|
|All Three (✪)||0||0|
|Did It Open Government?|
|Number of Commitments Carried Over to Next Action Plan||Incomplete commitments will continue, 6 are directly represented in second national action plan.|
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) carries out a review of the activities of each OGP-participating country. This report summarises the results of the period July 2017 to June 2018 and includes some recent developments up to August 2018.
Responsibility for implementing the commitments in Australia’s first national action plan were spread over 12 federal and state government agencies, coordinated by the federal Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Implementation was monitored over much of the reporting period by first an interim and then permanent multi-stakeholder forum which included members from the civil society sector.
While none of the commitments were viewed as having the potential for a transformative impact, several had a major impact on opening up government over the course of the first action plan. These include several commitments which aimed to establish expert or representative panels in advising government, most notably the establishment of the Open Government Partnership Forum to collaborate on improving Australia’s OGP commitment. The commitment to enhance public participation in government decision making, which is being continued in the second national action plan, has the potential to make a significant contribution to improving engagement between the government and community generally.
The Commonwealth government published a draft end-of-term self-assessment report on 3 December 2018.[i] The draft report was open for public consultation for a two-week period.
The Australian government released its second national action plan on 21 September 2018.[ii] The second national action plan includes a number of commitments which continue or slightly modify commitments in the first national action plan, including strengthening the national anti-corruption framework, making it easier to deal with the government online, and expanding open contracting and due diligence in procurement. Other commitments reflect more significant changes and developments that occurred during implementation of the first national action plan, including improving the sharing, use, and reuse of public sector data, enhancing the transparency of political donations and funding, and engaging Australians in the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service.
Commitments reflecting IRM recommendations made in the mid-term progress report include enhancing state and territory participation in the Open Government Partnership. The introduction to the second national action plan indicates, however, that the Australian government is committed to completing commitments from the first national action plan and will continue to monitor and publish progress.
[i] PM&C, End of Term Self-Assessment Report for the National Action Plan 2016-18, https://ogpau.pmc.gov.au/end-term-self-assessment-report-national-action-plan-2016-18 (accessed 6/5/2019).
[ii] Senator Matthias Cormann, Media Release: Release of the second Open Government National Action Plan, https://www.financeminister.gov.au/media-release/2018/09/21/release-second-open-government-national-action-plan. The second national action plan, https://ogpau.pmc.gov.au/australias-second-open-government-national-action-plan-2018-20.