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Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Annual Report 2016–2017

ISSN 1839–5155

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You are free to share, copy, redistribute, adapt, transform and build upon the materials in this report, with the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms. Please attribute the content of this publication as: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Annual Report 2016–17.

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Contact

Mail
Director, Strategic Communications and Coordination
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner GPO Box 5218
SYDNEY NSW 2001

Email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au

Website: www.oaic.gov.au

Phone: 1300 363 992

Our annual report is also available free of charge on our website at www.oaic.gov.au/annualreport2016-17.

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Non-English speakers

If you speak a language other than English and need help, please call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 363 992.

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Accessible formats

All our publications can be made available in a range of accessible formats. If you would like this report in an accessible format, please contact us.

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Cover and Design

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Typesetting

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Printed

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Letter of Transmittal

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
Attorney-General
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Attorney,

I am delighted to provide to you, for presentation to the Parliament, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC’s) Annual Report 2016–17 for the year ending 30 June 2017.

This report has been prepared for the purposes of section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), which requires that I prepare and provide an annual report to you for presentation to the Parliament.

Section 30 of the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 (AIC Act) requires the Information Commissioner to prepare an annual report – under aforementioned section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 – on the OAIC’s operations, including a report on freedom of information matters (defined in section 31 of the AIC Act) and privacy matters (defined in section 32 of the AIC Act).

The freedom of information matters include a summary of the data collected from Australian Government ministers and agencies in relation to activities under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

I certify that the OAIC has prepared a fraud risk assessment and fraud control plan. We also have a number of appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection mechanisms in place. The OAIC has taken all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud.

I certify that this report has been prepared in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendments (Non-corporate Commonwealth Entity Annual Reporting) Rule 2016.

Yours sincerely

Timothy Pilgrim PSM

Australian Information Commissioner
Australian Privacy Commissioner

14 September 2017

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Contents

  • Performance snapshot
  • About us
  • Purpose
  • Objectives

Part 1 Overview

  • Commissioner’s review
  • Our year at a glance
  • Our environment
  • Who we are
  • Communication and collaboration

Part 2 Performance

  • Our performance statement
  • Analysis
  • Privacy
  • FOI
  • Develop the personal information management capabilities of Australian businesses and government agencies

Part 3 Management and accountability

  • Corporate governance
  • Human resources
  • Procurement
  • Other requirements

Part 4 Financial statements

Part 5 Appendices

  • Appendix A: Agency resource statement and resources for outcomes
  • Appendix B: Memoranda of understanding
  • Appendix C: Privacy statistics
  • Appendix D: FOI statistics
  • Appendix E: Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Appendix F: Correction of material errors
  • Appendix G: Index
  • Appendix H: Requirements

Our priorities for the coming year

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Performance snapshot

Challenge 1: Promote, uphold and shape Australian information privacy rights

Key achievements in 2016–17 included:

  • Received 17% more privacy complaints than last year, closed a higher percentage than last year, and shortened the time taken to do so
  • 100% of OAIC recommendations to entities to ensure compliance with the Privacy Act, were accepted or planned for action
  • Growth in privacy awareness with 49% increase in Privacy Awareness Week partners, increase in membership of the Privacy Professionals’ Network (PPN) from 169 to 1235 members, and received 40% more media enquiries
  • Conducted the 2017 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey (ACAPS).

Refer to page 39 for a detailed report of the OAIC’s performance against Challenge 1.

Challenge 2: Promote and uphold Australian information access rights

Key achievements in 2016–17 included:

  • Received 24% more Information Commissioner (IC) reviews than last year
  • Finalised 13% more IC reviews than last year, with 80% of IC reviews finalised without a formal decision having to be made (in line with our aim of encouraging agreement between the parties where possible)
  • All FOI complaints finalised during the year were completed within 12 months of receipt
  • Reissued key parts of the Guidelines issued under s 93A of the FOI Act.

Refer to page 50 for a detailed report of the OAIC’s performance against Challenge 2.

Challenge 3: Develop the personal information management capabilities of Australian businesses and government agencies

Key achievements in 2016–17 included:

  • Initiated development of the Australian Public Service (APS) Privacy Governance Code
  • Released the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) eLearning Program to improve skill and capability within Australian businesses and agencies.

Refer to page 54 for a detailed report of the OAIC’s performance against Challenge 3.

Analysis of performance against our purpose

The 2016–17 year was a period of consolidation for the OAIC. In particular we worked hard to implement the Government’s decision to return all functions under the FOI Act to the OAIC.

We were effective in the reporting year in achieving our purpose of promoting and protecting the right of individuals to access government-held information and understand how it is used for public purposes; and to exercise choice and control over their personal information.

This is demonstrated by:

Challenge 1: Promote, uphold and shape Australian information privacy rights
Out of the 20 performance criterion, the OAIC met 16 of the criterion targets.

Challenge 2: Promote and uphold Australian information access rights
Out of the seven performance criterion, the OAIC met six of the criterion targets.

Challenge 3: Develop the personal information management capabilities of Australian businesses and government agencies
Out of the two performance criterion, the OAIC met both of the criterion targets.

Out of a total of twenty-nine performance criterion (under our three main goals) we met the target for twenty-four of these criterion.

Further information is contained in the Performance statements on page 39.

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About us

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is an independent statutory agency within the Attorney General’s portfolio, established under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 (AIC Act).

Our role is to the meet the needs of the Australian community when it comes to the regulation of privacy and freedom of information.

We do this by:

  • Ensuring proper handling of personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) and other legislation
  • Protecting the public’s right of access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

The head of the agency is the Australian Information Commissioner.

As of 30 June 2017, we had 74.37 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, including ongoing and non-ongoing employees.

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Purpose

Our purpose is to promote and uphold information privacy and information access rights through organisational excellence.

We are successful when we:

  • promote and uphold information privacy rights for individuals
  • assist businesses and government agencies covered by the Privacy Act 1988 to meet their privacy obligations while encouraging better privacy practice
  • influence government policy makers to consider privacy and Freedom of Information (FOI) impacts when drafting legislation and new policy proposals
  • undertake FOI regulatory functions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 in an efficient and timely manner
  • assist businesses and government agencies improve their information management capabilities in relation to privacy and FOI.

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Objectives

The OAIC’s objectives for 2016–17 were identified in our Corporate Plan 2016–17.

Vision

Our vision is an Australia where government information is managed as a national resource and personal information is respected and protected.

Stakeholders

We work proactively with government agencies, political and community leaders, researchers and academics, businesses and the Australian public to regulate and enforce Australia’s privacy and freedom of information laws.

Values

  • Independent: We make decisions and provide advice that is impartial and objective.
  • Innovative: We value innovation, creativity and continuous improvement.
  • Proactive: We tailor our work to the challenging environment in information management and policy.
  • Collaborative: We work constructively with Parliament, government agencies, private entities, interest groups and the public.
  • Practical: We make decisions and give advice that is sensible and operative.
  • Expert: We provide respected insights and leadership in privacy, FOI, information management and policy.

Goals

  • Promote, uphold and shape Australian information privacy rights
  • Promote and uphold Australian information access rights
  • Develop the personal information management capabilities of Australian businesses and government agencies.

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