Freedom of Information request permit access to ACT Government documents. The documents are then published on the ACT Government website. This request FOI 21-008 (28 Jan 2021) releases the community path priority list from the ACT database on 16 February 2021. The purpose of this article is to explain the reasons that this information was made available.
Community paths are vital for active travel, but there is a lack of transparency in how the construction of new paths and the maintenance of older ones is managed. The budget for this work is also not known. The lack of adequate reporting, makes it difficult to assess what progress has been made. This FOI requests relevant internal data for community path works. The internal database is updated from Fix My Street but again is not clear which entries came from Fix My Street and which are from other origins. In short this data is a step forward in providing some information but the process is still not clear.
The data does not distinguish between paths that are designed for bikes and those designed for pedestrians. Both fall under the category community paths. If our goal is to create cycling networks, then we must note that there are different standards for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
The Estimates 2020-21 question TCCS about how path works are prioritised and while the answers were vague (common for speech) but consistent with what one reads here.
How does the ACT Government prioritise paths
As the list of community path requests is linked directly to requests made through Fix My Street, the list is altered daily. Requests are prioritised based on the following 5 factors:
2 Strategic (how the request completes routes identified as part of the Active Travel Infrastructure strategic path network);
3 Community (proximity to community attractions and trip generators, shops, schools, residential areas);
4 Public transport– proximity to relevant public Transport facilities such as bus stops; and
Available funding is also considered in the management of these requests. While a request may be listed in the database, the fulfilment of a request depends on the above listed factors and in some instances the request may not be fulfilled.FOI 21-008 community path priority list 28 Jan 2021
Statement of Reasons
FOI is generally a cooperative approach to government transparency. 🙂
In making my decision on disclosing government information, I must identify all relevant factors in schedule 1 and 2 of the FOI Act. I must also determine, on balance, where the public interest lies. In reaching my access decision, I have taken the following into account:
Factors favouring disclosure in the public interest (Schedule 2.1)FOI 21-008 community path priority list 28 Jan 2021
• Schedule 2.1(a) (ii) – contribute to positive and informed debate on important issues or matters of public interest.
• Schedule 2.1(a)(iii) – inform the community of the government’s
operations, including the policies, guidelines and codes of conduct
followed by the government in its dealings with members of the
• Schedule 2.1(a)(iv) – ensure effective oversight of expenditure of public funds; and
• Schedule 2.1(a)(viii) – reveal the reason for a government decision and any background or contextual information that informed the decision.