House of Representatives Committees


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APPENDIX 2

Recommendations and responses relating to chapter four, Distribution of the Parliamentary Papers Series—Report, dated May 2006

Recommendation 12: The Committee recommends that the Australian National Audit Office regularly monitor the online availability of government documents, especially those presented to Parliament.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported. No action required by the Chamber departments.

Government response: The Australian National Audit Office presented its report no. 37 Online Availability of Government Entities' Documents Tabled in the Australian Parliament in 2009.

Recommendation 13: The Committee recommends that the Australian Government Information Management Office continue to work with agencies to ensure that all government documents are made available online.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported. No action required by the Chamber departments.

Government response: AGIMO will continue to work with agencies to help ensure that Australian Government public accountability publications are made available online in accord with Government policy.

Recommendation 14: The Committee recommends that the Australian Government Information Management Office take steps to ensure that documents presented to Parliament are permanently available online, including encouraging the use of persistent identifiers to online information.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported. No action required by the Chamber departments.

Government response: Responsibility for ensuring that documents presented to Parliament are permanently available online rests with the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate.

AGIMO considers that the creation of a digital repository would best meet this recommendation (refer to response to Recommendation 19).


Recommendation 15: The Committee recommends that any digital versions of the Parliamentary Papers Series augment the hard copy series.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported. The hard copy series will continue.

No government response required.

Recommendation 16: The Committee recommends that agencies provide a website link, for all documents to be presented to Parliament, to the Tabling Officer of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This link is to be included in the daily list of documents scheduled for presentation to Parliament, which is circulated to Members and Senators.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported. No action required by the Chamber departments.

Government response: For some website implementations, it is not possible in all cases to allocate a web address to documents until they are ready to be posted on the Internet. The government therefore does not support this recommendation as it would be inappropriate to provide a website link to documents that are under embargo.

Recommendation 17: The Committee recommends that the chamber departments investigate providing an online list of Parliamentary Papers with hyperlinks to those documents on agency websites.

Presiding Officers' response: Agreed, subject to implementation of recommendation 16. The Chamber departments already provide an online list of Parliamentary Papers.

No government response required.

Recommendation 18: The Committee recommends that the legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 be extended to include electronic copies of documents.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported.

Government response: The Government is currently conducting a review of this issue. It will announce its decision in relation to this matter when it has considered the outcomes of that review.

Recommendation 19: The Committee recommends that the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate, in consultation with the Australian Government Information Management Office and other stakeholders, investigate and implement the development of an online digital repository for the Parliamentary Papers Series.

Presiding Officers' response: The documents constituting the Parliamentary Papers Series should be available online in order to provide community access. Author agencies and the Australian Government Information Management Office have a role in maintaining the online availability of documents. Unnecessary duplication of effort and expense should be avoided.

A virtual repository is desirable, but the scale of such a repository and the resources needed to maintain it would be very considerable. A significant investigation is necessary before any commitment can be made beyond the recognition of the desirability of such a compilation. Appropriate action in response to recommendations 13, 14, 16 and 17 will be an important step towards ensuring long-term electronic access to documents.

The Chamber departments will consult with key stakeholders and expert organisations including the National Library of Australia. The project to replace the ParlInfo application may provide a vehicle for considering the nature of the necessary document repository. The Department of the Senate tabled papers digital imaging project will progressively provide online access to all documents in the PPS except House of Representatives committee and departmental documents.

Government response: Responsibility for ensuring that documents presented to Parliament are permanently available online rests with the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate.

AGIMO will liaise with other stakeholders (the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate) in investigating the development of an online digital repository that will include the PPS.

Recommendation 20: The Committee recommends that, to complement the Department of the Senate's digital imaging project, the Department of the House of Representatives investigate the digital imaging of House committee reports presented from 1901 to 1996 and making these available online.

Presiding Officers' response: Supported in principle.

No government response required.

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