The Year 2000 Information Disclosure Bill 1999 was passed by the Senate on Friday in the hope that it will inspire the disclosure of Y2K readiness by Australian businesses.
The legislation offers legal protection to companies who make statements pertaining to their Y2K compliance that have previously been reluctant to do so due to potential legal action.
Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, announced in a joint statement the desire to see this legislation encourage a similar "good Samaritan" environment as the United States, where large corporations assist smaller businesses in the process of Y2K preparedness.
In an attempt to assist the bill's acceptance and effectiveness in the community at large, the Government has taken on the responsibility of increasing its own level of disclosure. Beginning in the next quarter, Y2K information will be available on an agency-by-agency basis as opposed to a general report.
The Government views the Information Disclosure bill as the latest initiative in a coordinated response from the Commonwealth to the dire issue of the millennium bug. The Government claims that tax deductibility for Y2K remediation software, an awareness campaign, and programs to assist regional neighbours with the problem will ensure an all-encompassing response to the threat.