The Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan, launched the government's eight principles on open public sector information at the Meta 2011 conference in Canberra last week.
The principles were developed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) through a process of public consultation, and recognise government information as a national resource that should be published for community access and use.
"These principles set out the central values of open public sector information – that it be freely available, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable and reusable," McMillan said in a statement.
The free flow of information – both spatial and otherwise – out to the public and the private sector is key to the principles.
"A free flow of information between government, business and the community can also stimulate innovation to the economic and social advantage of the nation," he said.
The new principles include concepts such open information being a ‘default position’ within government.
“If there is no legal need to protect the information it should be open to public access. Information publication enhances public access,” Principle 1 reads. “Agencies should use information technology to disseminate public sector information, applying a presumption of openness and adopting a proactive publication stance.”
Principle 2 requires agencies to engage the community online in policy design and service delivery, while Principle 4 calls on agencies to carry out robust information asset management.
You can download the document outlining the full list of principles here.