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TAKINg THE FIgHT
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND
INFORMATION MANAgEMENT BRANCH
An Information Management Strategic Framework,
endorsed by the Defence Committee in September,
will fully exploit Defence’s three distinct Information
Management (IM) domains – warfighting,
intelligence and corporate.
Assistant Secretary of Freedom of Information and
Information Management Branch, Mr Tony Corcoran,
said information is a strategic asset critical to
the business of Defence both for operational and
“In an environment with unprecedented technology
to create, manipulate and use information, it is
critical that Defence utilises IM systems and
processes that make the most of this asset
to support our business, both on and off the
battlefield,” Mr Corcoran said.
“There is no argument that Defence is
second to none in our core roles of warfighting
“However, during the last decade or so, the change
from a paper-based system of managing information
to electronic forms has led to inefficient and
unaligned processes which mean that our ability to
perform administratively is not of the same order.
“We need to concentrate our effort on developing
whole of Defence solutions, but tailored to suit
specific business needs where required. This is what
the Information Management Strategic Framework
aims to do.”
The Framework recognises that, across the
three distinct IM domains, information and
its uses are different, but the core IM needs
of business owners are largely the same. The
Strategic Framework also includes the principle
of no unilateral decision making being undertaken
on major IM matters to ensure that a whole-of-
Defence approach can be established.
“While the Strategic Framework is more about
business needs, processes and strong corporate
governance rather than Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) per se, it does
aim to ensure that future ICT solutions enable IM to
occur in an effective and efficient way and support
the broad philosophy that the right information gets
to the right person at the right time to make the right
decision,” Mr Corcoran said.
“Meeting this intent across the organisation is a big
undertaking, but its importance cannot be overstated
if we consider that Defence’s warfighting capability
to Information Management By Rhonda Henry
depends on a commander’s ability to seamlessly
access real-time intelligence, logistics and force
disposition information in order to make strategic or
The Strategic Framework sets out the vision that, in
three to five years, we will have confidence in our
information, access to all the information needed to
make a decision, common business processes, clear
lines of responsibility for specific information and be
able to report quickly and accurately.
The next step in the process is to develop an
implementation roadmap to identify, plan and
allocate resources to projects supporting IM in
developing IM governance arrangements,
including identifying business information
owners to ensure responsibility for information
accuracy, currency and management
“In an environment with unprecedented technology to create, manipulate and use
information, it is critical that Defence utilises IM systems and processes that make
the most of this asset to support our business, both on and off the battlefield.”
Assistant Secretary of Freedom of Information
and Information Management Branch, Mr Tony Corcoran
Reforms to the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(fOI act) came into effect on 1 november and
will have a major influence on how fOI issues
are handled by Defence.
The reforms to the FOI Act are a central part of
the Government’s transparency initiatives and are
underpinned by the notion that government-held
information is a national resource.
As part of the reforms, the new Australian
Information Commissioner and former Commonwealth
Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, supported by
the FOI Commissioner, Dr James Popple, has oversight
of Australian Government information policy and
practice, including FOI and privacy.
The Information Commissioner will act as an
independent monitor of FOI matters and review FOI
access decisions made by agencies and ministers.
One of the more important aspects of the reform is
the abolition of application fees, including fees for
The first five hours of decision-making time will
now be free for all applicants with no charges
applying where a person requests access to their
Most applications will be valid immediately – far more
than previously – with less time available to process
applications. The FOI Act also provides for the waiver
of all charges if a statutory time frame is not met.
Applicants wishing to have FOI access decisions
reviewed can now choose to go directly to the
Information Commissioner for external review.
Applicants disagreeing with the outcome of the
Information Commissioner’s review can apply to the
Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
In certain circumstances, where access requests are
clearly unreasonable, the Information Commissioner
can restrict an applicant’s access rights by declaring
the person to be a vexatious applicant.
Information Defgram no. 686/2010 has more
information or you can go to the fOI website at:
fOI or http://www.defence.gov.au/foi/ .
FOI reforms now in place
adopting common business rules for IM across
the three domains, and
implementing a communication plan to ensure
everyone has a common understanding of the
IM agenda – because it will affect all of us and
change the way we work.
Related IM projects include rolling out DRMS
to another 30,000 users during the next three
years, establishing a metadata repository to make
searching for documents easier, and implementing
a web content management system on the Internet
These initiatives are contributed to and supported
by every Group and Service, through the Information
Managers’ Network, and regular updates will be
provided as the reform agenda progresses.
For more information, or for a copy of the Strategic
Framework, please email IMenquiries@defence.
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