WRAP - No prison in Westbury
WRAP media release - 18 November 2020

Department of Justice one of worst offenders with RTIs

"Sadly, the damning report handed down by the Ombudsman on the State Government's appalling handling of RTI applications comes as no surprise to WRAP.

For over one year now we have been fighting the State government over our applications for information under RTI. We have found the Department of Justice to be the worst to deal with. Timeframes have been strung out over months and months, inappropriate exemptions have been applied and any material released has been heavily redacted to the point of meaningless.

Regrettably, the principles the RTI legislation appear to have no application so far as the Department of Justice is concerned.

The worst example of inappropriate handling relates to an application made on 15th June 2020, which we were asked to reconsider when the announcement of the new site was made on 18th June 2020.

When asked whether we wanted to progress this application, I responded with an unequivocal "yes".

Months later I was informed that my response had been construed as a "no", so the Department had simply closed the file, meaning that the timeframes would have to commence afresh. [Refer to attachment]

This was the most breathtaking example of the Department's condescension towards our applications, but it is simply emblematic of their general attitude.

It's such a sad indictment on the Department of Justice, as you would expect this Department above all others to have respect for the letter of the law. When you cannot rely on them to respect the principles of the legislation, it really leads you to despair for the health of our democracy."

Linda Poulton
Spokesperson, WRAP Inc


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