The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is an Australian Government agency, established under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 (AIC Act). The AIC Act provides that the OAIC is responsible for freedom of information functions, privacy functions and information policy functions.
Freedom of Information
The OAIC has freedom of information (FOI) functions, including the oversight of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and review of decisions made by agencies and ministers under that Act. If a person is dissatisfied with the result of an FOI request, they may seek review by the OAIC.
A person may also complain to us if they are unhappy with the manner in which their request was handled by an agency. The OAIC may initiate an own motion investigation (OMI). Reports on previous OMIs can be found in our FOI OMI reports section.
The OAIC can also provide information and advice on FOI to individuals and agencies, via our enquiries line.
The OAIC is also responsible for privacy functions that are conferred by the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) and other laws. Under the Privacy Act a person can make a complaint to us about the handling of their personal information by Australian, ACT and Norfolk Island government agencies and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy Act.
The OAIC may also commence a Commissioner initiated investigation (CII) into an act or practice that might breach the Privacy Act. Reports on previous investigations can be found in our Privacy CII reports section.
The OAIC also has the power to:
- conduct an assessment of whether an entity is maintaining and handling personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act A selection of Privacy assessments are available in the Applying privacy law section.
- request an entity to develop an enforceable code, and register codes that have been developed on the initiative of an entity, at the OAIC’s request or by the Commissioner directly
- direct an agency to give the OAIC a privacy impact assessment about a proposed activity or function
- recognise external dispute resolution schemes to handle particular privacy-related complaints.
The OAIC has a range of responsibilities under other laws, including laws relating to data matching, ehealth, spent convictions and tax file numbers. For further information about these responsibilities see our Privacy Act and Other legislation sections.
The OAIC provides information and advice on privacy to individuals, businesses and agencies via our enquiries line.
The OAIC oversees government information policy functions. This function is conferred on the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) by the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010. The Information Commissioner reports to the Attorney-General on matters relating to Australian Government information management policy and practice, including FOI and privacy.
To find out more about the OAIC’s role in providing information policy advice, please see the Information policy section of this site.