On this Page:
- Legislation establishing the OAIC – the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010
- Freedom of information law – the Freedom of Information Act 1982
- Privacy law – the Privacy Act 1988
- Archives law – the Archives Act 1983
This page outlines the main sources of law which are relevant to the work of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
- This Act establishes the OAIC.
- It provides for the appointment of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner (previously appointed under the Privacy Act 1988) and the Freedom of Information Commissioner.
- These changes form an important part of the Australian Government's broader FOI reforms (see below).
- This Act was passed on 13 May 2010, received Royal Assent on 31 May 2010, and came into effect on 1 November 2010.
- The 2010 amendments to this Act represent the most substantial changes to Australia's national freedom of information legislation since it came into force in 1982.
- The main amending legislation was the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Act 2010, which was passed on 13 May 2010 and received Royal Assent on 31 May 2010.
- The OAIC has published a guide which explains the main provisions and underlying principles of the FOI Act including the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the Act and the key features of the 2010 reforms.
- There is also a short outline of the major 2010 changes to FOI law in the Freedom of information section of this site.
- For a range of other FOI guidance, see our Publications and resources section.
More detailed information on the Australian Government's freedom of information (FOI) reform program can be found on the Attorney-General's Department website.
- The Privacy Act continues to regulate the handling of personal information by Australian Government agencies and a range of private and not for profit organisations.
- The Privacy Commissioner and his office were integrated into the OAIC when it commenced on 1 November 2010.
- For more information about federal privacy law including privacy law reform, see the Privacy section of this site or the former Office of the Privacy Commissioner's website.
- Federal archives legislation has also been changed by the FOI reforms.
- Most notably, the ‘open access period' has been reduced from 30 years to 20 years, and from 50 years to 30 years for Cabinet documents.
- The above changes are being phased in over a 10 year transition period.
- For further information about the National Archives, see the National Archives of Australia website.