Part VI of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) gives the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) the power to determine that an act or practice of an Australian or ACT Government agency, or a private sector organisation, which may constitute a breach of an Information Privacy Principle, a National Privacy Principle or an approved privacy code, shall be regarded as not breaching that principle or approved code for the purposes of the Privacy Act. These powers will customarily be exercised by the Privacy Commissioner.
The power for the Information Commissioner to issue Public Interest Determinations (PIDs) in relation to applications by Australian and ACT Government agencies has existed since the introduction of the Privacy Act in 1988. The Information Commissioner's power to issue determinations in relation to private sector organisations came into effect with the amendments to the Privacy Act in December 2001. These amendments also give the Information Commissioner the power to make a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID), in limited circumstances, where an application for a PID contains matters of an urgent nature.
The Information Commissioner has issued Public Interest Determination Procedure Guidelines to assist Australian and ACT public sector agencies and private sector organisations who are considering, or making, applications for a PID or a TPID under the Privacy Act. For those considering making an application for a PID or a TPID, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) strongly encourages them, whether an Australian/ACT Government agency or a private sector organisation, to discuss the matter with the OAIC in the first instance.
As a result of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, any public interest determinations come into effect on the day specified in the determination or, if not specified, on the day following registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
The listing of current Public Interest Determinations and Temporary Public Interest Determinations below constitutes the Register of Determinations that the Australian Information Commissioner is required to keep in accordance with Section 80E of the Privacy Act 1988.
Note: The authoritative versions of all legislative instruments enabled by the Privacy Act 1988 can be found on the ComLaw site at www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A03712/Enables. These include all current Privacy Regulations, Public Interest Determinations, Credit Provider Determinations, Privacy Codes, Health and Medical Research Guidelines and Tax File Number Guidelines.
Note: Determinations no longer in force are found in the Privacy archive section of this website.