31 August 2020

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published its Corporate Plan for 2020-21, which sets out its strategic priorities and key activities for the next four years.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the right to privacy and the continued need for transparency across both personal information handling and government decision-making.

“This year’s Corporate Plan sets out how the OAIC will achieve our core purpose — to promote and uphold privacy and information access rights — in the context of a vastly different environment to that of a year ago,” Commissioner Falk said.

“Through both the pandemic and our recovery, public health and economic outcomes can be supported by promoting and upholding privacy and information access rights. It is this objective that my office seeks to achieve.”

The plan identifies four strategic priorities that will help the OAIC achieve its vision to increase public trust and confidence in the protection of personal information and access to government-held information:

  1. Advance online privacy protections for Australians
  2. Influence and uphold privacy and information access rights frameworks
  3. Encourage and support proactive release of government-held information, and
  4. Contemporary approach to regulation.

Over the coming year, the OAIC will continue to promote strong privacy protections for the use of personal information to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19, including oversight of data handling within the COVIDSafe app system.

Strengthening privacy protections in the online environment remains a key focus for the organisation, while privacy law reform will be a priority in 2020-21, with the Australian Government’s review of the Privacy Act an opportunity to ensure the regulatory framework can respond to new challenges in the digital environment.

Commissioner Falk said the OAIC will also enforce privacy safeguards under the Consumer Data Right and will continue its work to improve transparency and prevent harm to consumers through its oversight of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme.

“Our focus on personal information security will be reflected in our compliance and enforcement activities. The OAIC is working with domestic and international regulators to take action to protect Australian’s personal information, wherever it flows,” she said.

The OAIC will also continue to promote initiatives that facilitate proactive publishing of government-held information.

“Proactive disclosure of information builds trust in government and supports a more efficient and effective freedom of information system,” Commissioner Falk said.

“The OAIC will continue to be targeted, engaged, agile, independent and expert in exercising our regulatory functions and working towards our vision of greater trust and confidence in the protection of personal information and access to government-held information.”

“Our cooperation and engagement with domestic and international regulators will be critical in protecting and promoting privacy and information access rights.”