Publication date: August 2021
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Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Corporate Plan 2020–21.
||Director, Strategic Communications
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney, NSW 2001
||1300 363 992
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Statement of preparation
I, Angelene Falk, Australian Information Commissioner, present the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Corporate Plan 2021–22, for the 2021–22 to 2024–25 reporting periods, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
16 July 2021
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is an independent statutory agency within the Attorney-General Department’s portfolio, established under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 (AIC Act).
Our key role is to 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)
- Performing strategic functions relating to information management in the Australian Government, in accordance with the AIC Act.
Structure of our plan
Our corporate plan outlines who we are, what we are here to do, our vision and how we will achieve it.
The plan is broken into 2 parts:
- Part 1 – Operating context: Our environment, Capabilities, Risk management, Cooperation and collaboration
- Part 2 – Our strategic priorities
The past 12 months has been an unprecedented year marked by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it has also set new benchmarks for practice in privacy and information access, as government and business responded to heightened community awareness and expectations for open and timely information sharing and strong privacy protections in areas of higher risk.
This corporate plan sets out the strategic priorities for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and defines how we will measure success in the context of our fast-changing operating environment. More than ever, our success will be the result of collaboration: with our staff, with Australian and international regulators, and across government, the private sector, academia and the community.
Australians’ accelerated adoption of digital technology has transformed the way we do business and go about our daily lives. A number of Australian Government initiatives respond to this trend and will impact on the work of the OAIC throughout 2021–22.
Our ongoing focus on security of personal information and prevention of data breaches contributes to Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The government’s new Digital Economy Strategy also seeks to harness digital opportunities and foreshadows the development of an Australian Data Strategy.
The OAIC plays an important regulatory role in several initiatives under the Digital Economy Strategy: in the roll out of the Consumer Data Right to additional sectors; overseeing privacy protections in the next-wave My Health Record; and advising on and regulating privacy in the expansion of the Digital Identity system.
The Digital Economy Strategy also targets fit-for- purpose regulation that builds trust. The current government review of the Privacy Act is an opportunity to update our regulatory framework to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital age and address the community’s desire for more to be done to protect their personal information. The review is a key focus for the OAIC during the life of this plan, as we draw on our regulatory experience to advise, make recommendations and implement.
Ahead of these changes, the proposed introduction of a new Online Privacy Code and other reforms is an opportunity to strengthen protections in the digital environment, including for children. The development and implementation of the Code will be another key area of focus for the OAIC.
Operating as a contemporary regulator, the OAIC strives to respond to community expectations through our strategic and regulatory priorities, and by enhancing our capability, managing risk effectively, and cooperating and collaborating with other regulators at home and overseas.
In seeking to protect Australians’ data and support innovation, regulatory cohesion and use of data in the public interest, we are closely engaged with domestic regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Office of the National Data Commissioner. As the volume and velocity of cross-border data transfers continues to increase, we have also consolidated strong working relationships with international regulators, through forums such as the Global Privacy Assembly, and through direct relationships facilitating cooperation and joint investigation on issues of mutual concern.
In 2021–22, the OAIC will continue to provide privacy advice and guidance to support public health responses to the pandemic, as public trust in information handling and release remains critical to our efforts to prevent and manage COVID-19.
The shift to providing more government services online also brings new opportunities to streamline our access to information system. In the year ahead, we will maintain our efforts to encourage more proactive release of government information where appropriate, including through administrative access arrangements such as self-service schemes, and by building on the information Publication Scheme.
We will also welcome a new Freedom of Information Commissioner to the OAIC, to assist with the increasing number of requests for review of freedom of information (FOI) decisions by agencies and ministers, and other strategic access to information work.
As we look to a future in which new businesses are ‘born’ digital and more government services are available online, increasing public trust and confidence in digital interactions through the protection of personal information and access to government-held information remains at the heart of our vision.
I look forward to delivering on this plan for all Australians.
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner
16 July 2021
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