Privacy review rights

If you are not satisfied with a decision the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has made under the Privacy Act 1988, you can ask the OAIC to review the decision. This request will generally be investigated by an officer not previously involved with your complaint. For more information, please call the OAIC Enquiries Line.

What further action can I take?

You can apply to the Court for a judicial (legal) review of a decision not to investigate your complaint or a determination following the investigation of your complaint if you think that:

  • a decision by the OAIC not to investigate, or not to further investigate, your complaint under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) is not legally correct
  • a determination by the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) following the investigation of your complaint is not legally correct.

You can apply for a review of the decision or the determination by the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court. You can make this application under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

The Court will not review the merits of your case but it may refer the matter back to the OAIC for further consideration if it finds the Information Commissioner's decision was wrong in law or the Information Commissioner's powers were not exercised properly.

If you want the Court to review the decision to not investigate, or the Information Commissioner's determination, you must lodge an application to the Court within 28 days of the date of the decision or determination. You may wish to seek legal advice as the process can involve fees and costs.

Please contact the Federal Court registry in your State or Territory for more information, or visit the Federal Court website.

Making a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman

If you believe you have been treated unfairly by the Information Commissioner, or the staff of the OAIC, you can make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Ombudsman).

The Ombudsman's services are free. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the administrative actions of Australian Government agencies to see if you have been treated unfairly.

If the Ombudsman finds your complaint is justified, the Ombudsman can recommend that the OAIC reconsider or change its action or decision or take any other action that the Ombudsman considers is appropriate.

You can contact the Ombudsman's office for more information on 1300 362 072 or visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website.

Appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If the Information Commissioner has made a determination about a complaint involving an Australian Government agency you can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review the declaration about compensation or expenses if you (or the respondent) disagree with:

  • a declaration about the amount of compensation that should be paid
  • a decision not to make a declaration that compensation should be paid
  • a decision to make a declaration that the complainant is entitled to be reimbursed for expenses incurred in making the complaint.

The AAT will decide if the Information Commissioner has made the correct decision about compensation and expenses. If the AAT decides the decision about the compensation and expenses is incorrect, it may make a new decision about these issues.

If you want the AAT to review a declaration about compensation or expenses, you need to lodge an application to the AAT within 28 days of receiving the OAIC’s final decision.

Please contact the Tribunal Registry in your state or territory for more information, or visit the AAT website.

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