Businesses would suffer if papers got out: Combet

Federal industry minister Greg Combet said yesterday that jobs and investment would suffer if a newspaper published information Combet’s department accidentally released to it.

Federal industry minister Greg Combet said yesterday that jobs and investment would suffer if a newspaper published information Combet’s department accidentally released to it.

On Friday The Australian Financial Review was given 39 documents under a Freedom of Information request. The documents related to dealings between the government and automotive industry lobbyists.

The federal government took the AFR to the NSW Supreme Court on Monday in an attempt to get the newspaper to destroy the documents, which it eventually did.

Combet said that the redaction of the information wasn’t something that he’d personally ordered, but he agreed with it.

“There are very sensitive commercial issues in those documents, very sensitive, that would have a very negative effect,” he said.

“The confidence in [companies] sharing their commercial information with government would be severely prejudiced and, not only that, it would have investment and employment consequences.”

Combet denied the decision to go to court went against the government’s professed commitment to a pro-disclosure culture, and that other news outlets had handed back unredacted documents when this had been requested.