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In previous Press Releases we have outlined the cutting back of basic information from Canberra on funding of private church schools. Now even that information will be almost impossible to obtain - unless you have the internet!

Mr Alston ( of demands for ABC accountability fame!) is the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. In a recent letter to outlets for Government Publications from the "National Office for Information Economy" John Rimmer, the Executive Officer under Alston had this to say:

"I am writing to inform you about the introduction of a new business model for the distribution of Commonwealth Government publications. The new model aims to better meet the preferences of government agencies and their customers in accessing government information. As part of these new arrangements the Government Bookshop Network ( also known as the Info Access Network) will be closed by end of October 2003. The decision to implement the arrangements was announced as part of the 2003/4 Budget.

The Government Bookshop Network was originally intended to be a single access point for all government publications. However a large number of agencies now distribute their publications using alternate channels more attuned to their business needs and the needs of their stakeholders. As an example, fewer than 10% of government agency annual reports are now distributed through the Network. A significant proportion of government publications are now available free of charge on the Internet.

The Network has been operating at a loss for a long period of time due to failing customer numbers and declining sales, and the loss has been increasing annually. These losses are not sustainable and are an unreasonable burden on taxpayers. It no  longer makes public policy or commercial sense for the Government to continue to support the Network.

NOIE will work closely with those agencies that will be affected by the Network's closure to ensure continued availability of publications to key customer groups.....

A number of points should be made about the above.

    1.    The government is not concerned that CITIZENS ( as opposed to key business agencies, internet users,  or stakeholders - whoever they may be)) are informed about government publications. Our politicians have become a law unto themselves, with minimal accountability for expenditure for public money to all citizen/electors.

    2.    The government believes that only those who can afford the Internet should have access to such information. Anyone who believes the internet is free does not know about TELSTRA or server accounts.

    3.    The Government imposes a commercial, private, profit criteria on one of the most basic tenets of a democracy - accountability for expenditure of public money.

Yet the ABC, community groups and public school council members are held accountable for every miserable penny which the Federal Government deigns to return a dribbling amount of THEIR taxes.

It seems that there is one rule for Canberra politicians and another for the common taxpayer.



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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005