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OAIC Achievements

Since its commencement in November 2010, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has been highly successful in protecting the community's information rights and the advancement of information policy within government.

Below are a number of the OAIC's achievements.

Information Policy

  • Published the Principles on open public sector information (2011) (Open PSI Principles) that are widely referred to across government
  • Published two reports that promote Open PSI and the development of a national information policy — Towards a national information policy (2010) and Understanding the value of public sector information in Australia (2011)
  • Conducted a survey and published two reports of the information management practices of 191 Australian Government agencies regarding their compliance with the FOI Act Information Publication Scheme and the OAIC's Open PSI Principles — Information publication scheme: survey of Australian Government agencies (2012), and Open public sector information: from principles to practice (2013)
  • Promoted key information policy concepts that now have a defining influence in government agency information practices, including that government information is a national asset to be used for public purposes, and concepts of 'public sector information', 'open data' and 'proactive disclosure'
  • Hosted a National Information Policy Conference (2011) attended by over 300 people
  • Liaised with other government agencies to build a strong interagency network for coordinating information policy developments.

Freedom of Information

  • Resolved 1345 applications for Information Commissioner review (between 1 November 2010 and 30 June 2014), publishing reasons for decision in 199 of those cases
  • Closed 406 Freedom of Information (FOI) complaints
  • Dealt with 1313 applications for an extension of FOI processing time for complex and voluminous FOI requests
  • Dealt with 4758 phone enquiries and 1985 written enquiries about FOI
  • Conducted an own motion investigation into administration of sensitive and high profile FOI requests to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship
  • Provided 35 FOI reform training courses for Australian Government agencies and the Norfolk Island Administration
  • Published clear and comprehensive FOI guidelines (250 pages), 16 Fact Sheets for the public, and over 30 detailed agency resources on processing times, calculating charges, administrative access, third party objections, anonymous requests, statements of reasons, redaction, FOI training, website publication, disclosure logs, sample letters and frequently asked questions
  • Conducted a public consultation on FOI charges and prepared a lengthy report to Government in 2012
  • Made two substantial submissions to the review of the FOI Act by Dr Allan Hawke AC in 2013 (many of the OAIC's reform proposals were endorsed by the Review)
  • Promoted the ideals of transparency, accountability, participation and better decision-making that underlie the FOI Act
  • Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the FOI Act with an event held at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. The event was attended by staff from both public and private sector bodies as well as members of the public.

Privacy

  • Closed 6278 privacy complaints
  • Dealt with 36,960 phone enquiries and 6391 written enquiries about privacy
  • Conducted 137 own motion investigations and 14 audits
  • Received 213 data breach notifications
  • Implemented substantial changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) that commenced on 12 March 2014, by undertaking or commencing preparation of nearly fifty legislative instruments, codes (including a comprehensive Credit Code), guideline statements and information sheets, and conducting an extensive public consultation process (receiving more than 90 public submissions on draft guidelines)
  • Published guidance on emerging privacy issues, including Data Breach Notification Guidelines (2012), Privacy business resource 4: De-identification of data and information (2014), a Guide to Information Security (2013) and Mobile privacy: a better practice guide for mobile app developers (2013)
  • Conducted and published the results of a Community Attitudes to Privacy survey (2013)
  • Annually hosted Privacy Awareness Week, and arranged participation by government agencies and private sector bodies (over 200 in 2014)
  • Administered the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum, that includes members from the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore
  • Participated in global forums that aim to build a coordinated approach to regulating crossborder data flows and challenges, including the Global Privacy Enforcement Network under the auspices of the OECD, and the APEC Cross Border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement.

Corporate, public relations and community engagement

  • Established an integrated office and scheme for managing freedom of information, privacy and information policy advice
  • Hosted regular meetings of the Information Contact Officers Network for agency FOI and privacy officers, attended by approximately 130 agency staff on each occasion
  • Convened the Information Advisory Committee and the Privacy Advisory Committee, that comprise senior government officers and external representatives with experience in archives, libraries, journalism, banking, medicine, trade unions, copyright law, information technology, disability access and community services
  • Managed a dynamic website that receives up to 1.5 million visits annually
  • Provided policy advice to agencies or organisations on 932 occasions, made 111 submissions to inquiries and undertook 128 consultations
  • Made more than 270 keynote speeches and presentations to public conferences and in-house agency and business seminars, on open government and privacy protection.