NSW Government to disclose wood supply detailsForests NSW, the state forestry agency for New South Wales, must disclose details of its wood supply agreements because it is in the public interest to do so, according to a 20 September ruling by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal reported The Age on 21 September.
The judgment was precedent-setting as far as how much information the government must reveal about its forestry operations, said Pepe Clark, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, The Age reported.
Clark said the Tribunal’s decision will reveal what price is being paid for different qualities of trees and logs. The council has in the past received requested documents but certain sections have been blacked out, including those revealing timber price, types and amounts of trees, as well as compensation payments paid to logging companies for timber they were promised but could not harvest.
The Tribunal stated in its decision that an agency that deals with public assets should be held accountable for any contracts to sell those assets. The ruling is a test of the Government Information (Public Access) Act, which replaced freedom of information laws. Besides the government, two Boral subsidiaries fought to block public access to the information, claiming it would breach commercial-in-confidence contracts, reported The Age. Source: The Age
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