Draft statement on national information policy
In a democratic society:
The Australian Library and Information Association is committed to fair and equitable provision and use of information. A national information policy is necessary to ensure the rational and co-ordinated provision and use of information.
- information is essential to the growth of that society;
- free public access to information is a basic right;
- information is a national resource to be developed, shared and protected.
A national set of such information principles is necessary to ensure that:
[with due acknowledgement to: SLA: National information policies; strategies for the future. Washington: SLA, 1991; CLA: Information Rights Week Proclamation, 1997]
- information is accessible to all Australians and should be broadly disseminated in easily usable formats, to locations convenient for individual use. In this regard, libraries are an essential element of the Australian information industry and are that segment which is most accessible to all Australians;
- all Australians have fair and equitable access to the information of all levels of government. This information is a valuable resource which enables citizens to plan intelligently for the future. It also enables citizens to measure the effectiveness and economy of government programs and ensure the public accountability of government;
- the Australian public have access to high-speed telecommunications networks. This includes access to government and community information networks providing non-commercial information and providing options for creating and sharing such information. Such is a requirement for participation in democratic government and in the new electronic information world;
- the education system produces Australians with an awareness of the value of information and the capability to use information effectively;
- the development of appropriate and complementary information policies is encouraged, at all levels of government.