Public interest determinations

  1. Information about the Register
  2. Public Interest Determination Procedure Guidelines
  3. Notice of applications for a public interest determination
  4. Public interest determinations register

Information about the Register

Part VI of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) gives the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) the power to make a determination, by legislative instrument, that an act or practice of an Australian or Norfolk Island Government agency, or a private sector organisation, which may constitute a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle or a registered APP code that binds the entity, shall be regarded as not breaching that principle or registered code for the purposes of the Privacy Act.

In doing so, the Information Commissioner must be satisfied that the public interest in doing the act or practice, substantially outweighs the public interest in adhering to the APP or registered APP code. A determination made under Part VI is referred to as a public interest determination (PID). The Information Commissioner also has the power to make a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID), in limited circumstances, where an application for a PID raises issues that require an urgent decision.

The Information Commissioner has a similar power to make PIDs and TPIDs under the version of the Privacy Act applying to ACT government agencies. For information about how the Privacy Act applies to ACT government agencies, see Who is covered by privacy.

Public Interest Determination Procedure Guidelines

The Public Interest Determination Procedure Guidelines assist agencies and private sector organisations who are considering, or making, applications for a PID (and where relevant a TPID) under the Privacy Act. For those considering making an application for a PID, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) strongly encourages discussing the matter with the OAIC in the first instance.

Note: The Guidelines are currently being reviewed to take account of the 2014 reforms.

Notice of applications for a public interest determination

Date of notice: 27 February 2014

The OAIC has received an application from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) for a public interest determination.

The determination sought is that, on and from 12 March 2014, a breach of Australian Privacy Principle 8, or a breach of another Australian Privacy Principle as a result of the application of section 16C(2), in relation to the processing of international money transfers (IMT) that involve cross-border disclosure of personal information of an individual who is the beneficiary of an IMT, will be taken not to contravene section 15 of the Privacy Act 1988.

Update 11 March 2014: A temporary public interest determination for the applicant, ANZ, and an associated generalising determination for other authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959 have been made by the Privacy Commissioner and registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (see below). An ADI may be a bank, credit union or building society or a financial institution otherwise authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

The OAIC will now consider the main PID application further, including by conducting public consultations.

pdfPDF of ANZ PID application2.49 MB Note this is a PDF image of the application as received with a redaction of confidential information and signature. If you have difficulty accessing the contents please contact us.

Public interest determinations register

The listing of current PIDs and TPIDs below constitutes the Register of Determinations that the 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 website at

Note: Determinations under s78(a) that are no longer in force or determinations dismissing an application are found in the Privacy archive section of this website.

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