Privacy Connections — 12 December 2013

Message from the Commissioners

2013 was an active year for the OAIC. We handled an 11% increase in written enquiries, closed 66% more IC reviews, closed 49% more FOI complaints, closed 9% more privacy complaints, handled a 33% increase in data breach notifications, published a major report on open public sector information practices in government, rolled out the privacy reform program, made a significant contribution to the review of the FOI Act, restructured the office, launched a new website and engaged with the new Coalition Government on our information management program.

The signs point to an equally active 2014. Signature events will or are likely to include the commencement of Privacy Act reforms, debate over FOI Act reform, and preparation of a national action plan for Australia to join the international Open Government Partnership.

In undertaking this work OAIC staff engage with thousands of people in government, industry and the community, in Australia and abroad. We have enjoyed strong support this year and a good-natured understanding of the workload pressures we face.

The end of the year is a special time to reflect on achievements and direction, catch up with friends and family, and have a mental and physical rest from work. May we wish all our contacts a pleasant rest and transition to the new year. We look forward to engaging with you in the year ahead.

John McMillan, Australian Information Commissioner
Timothy Pilgrim, Privacy Commissioner
James Popple, Freedom of Information Commissioner

Consultations — Draft APP Guidelines 12 and 13

A reminder that comments for the third and final stage of the draft Australian Privacy Principle (APP) Guidelines are due by COB Monday 16 December 2013. Please note that submissions received after this date will not be able to be taken into account.

Please send submissions to

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) plans to start public consultation next week on Rules relating to handling personal information in locating missing persons. Keep an eye out for those on our Privacy consultations page.

Submissions published — APP Guidelines 6 to 11

Submissions on draft APP Guidelines 6 to 11 have been published on the OAIC website.
See draft APP Guidelines and submissions.

Submission — ALRC Issues Paper 43: ‘Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era’

The OAIC made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Issues Paper 43: Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era. The submission contains general comments on a mechanism to protect against serious invasion of privacy, and the OAIC’s comments in response to each Issues Paper question.

Read the submission.

Privacy law reform guidance publication schedule

The OAIC has updated its public schedule of when consultations and final publication are likely to occur on privacy law reform guidance materials.

See the schedule on the Privacy law reform page under the Resources section.

EDR scheme applications

The OAIC is starting to receive applications for recognition under the Privacy Act 1988 from external dispute resolution (EDR) schemes. The first application, from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, has been published on a new webpage that will eventually hold information about all applications and those EDR schemes that are recognised.

Read more on EDR scheme applications.

Speech — Privacy Reform — Act Three

Timothy Pilgrim, Australian Privacy Commissioner, spoke at the iappANZ 'Privacy Unbound' summit in Sydney on 25 November 2013. Timothy’s speech addressed the OAIC’s enforcement approach from March 2014.

Read the speech.

2012–13 eHealth Annual Report tabled

The Annual Report of the Information Commissioner's eHealth activities 2012–13 was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday 3 December 2013. The report includes information about the OAIC’s compliance, enforcement, advice and liaison activities under both the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 and the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010.

See the eHealth Report.

Event — 40th APPA Forum

The OAIC hosted the 40th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum on 26–27 November 2013. Representatives from 11 privacy authorities and observers gathered to discuss a variety of privacy related topics over the two days.

The communiqué has been released on the APPA Forum website

Read more on the APPA Forum.

Privacy Awareness Week 2014

Privacy Awareness Week will be held from 4 to 11 May 2014, but it’s not too soon to get involved. The OAIC is calling for PAW partners — in the year of law reform, this is a perfect way to demonstrate your commitment to best privacy practice. Being a partner is a non-financial arrangement, we just ask that you promote and encourage privacy awareness during the Week.

Please get in touch with the OAIC to find out more.

Please share this Privacy Connections newsletter with your colleagues so they can they can stay up to date with privacy developments, including privacy law reform. They can subscribe to this e-Newsletter or send an email to

Share this page

Protecting information rights — advancing information policy