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The Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) may undertake a Commissioner-initiated investigation (previously known as an own motion investigation) into an agency’s actions in performing its functions or exercising its powers under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

The investigation may look at a single agency decision or action, at a systemic problem or recurring pattern in an agency’s practices and processes in handling freedom of information (FOI) matters, or at a practice or problem occurring in more than one agency. The issue to be investigated may come to the attention of the Information Commissioner as a result of an Information Commissioner review (IC review), of a series of applications for IC review, or in some other way.

The Information Commissioner cannot investigate action taken by a minister in dealing with FOI matters. A similar restriction applies to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.