Since August 2013, the government has required departments to prepare and publish a disclosure statement to accompany the introduction of most government Bills and substantive Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs).
The purpose of a disclosure statement is to better inform parliamentary and public scrutiny of government-initiated legislation, but the key purpose of the disclosure requirement is to promote good practices for the development of that legislation.
The disclosure statement is a departmental document that complements the general policy statement provided by the Minister in the explanatory note accompanying the Bill or SOP. It is expected to reflect the knowledge, understanding and work done by the department(s) responsible for preparing the legislation by including, or providing links to, factual information about the Bill or SOP in three broad subject areas:
- available background policy material (such as a published review or evaluation, a relevant international treaty, or regulatory impact statement)
- the quality assurance work undertaken by the department during the development of the legislation (such as consultation undertaken, advice received from external reviewers, and any other testing or assessment undertaken), and
- any provisions of the proposed legislation considered to be significant, unusual, or deserving of special comment.
Disclosure statements are published on a dedicated website managed by the:
Disclosure statement guidance and templates
The Treasury has provided disclosure statement templates for Bills and SOPs, and guidance for departments on preparing and publishing a disclosure statement. These can be accessed at:
Disclosure statements as a legislative requirement
The government has proposed that disclosure statements should be a legislative requirement. Legislative provisions concerning disclosure statements are included in the Legislation Bill.
For more context and background on this proposal, see: