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What are my complaint review rights?

Judicial review

You can apply to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court for a review of a decision or determination of the Office of the Australia Information Commissioner (OAIC) 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 Commissioner under section 52 of the Privacy Act, following the investigation of your complaint, is not legally correct.*

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 decision or determination was wrong in law or the OAIC's powers were not exercised properly.

An application for review must be made to the Court within 28 calendar days of the OAIC sending the decision or determination to you.** 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.

*Note: If the Commissioner makes a determination under section 52 of the Privacy Act you will also have an ability to request a merit review of the determination by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. More information on that appeal right is provided if a determination is made.

**Note: If sent by post this means from the day we post the decision/determination to you.

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Making a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman

If you believe you have been treated unfairly by 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.

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