About public interest determinations

Part VI of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) gives the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) the power to make a determination, by legislative instrument, that an act or practice of an Australian or Norfolk Island Government agency, or a private sector organisation, which may constitute a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle or a registered APP code that binds the entity, shall be regarded as not breaching that principle or registered code for the purposes of the Privacy Act.

In doing so, the Information Commissioner must be satisfied that the public interest in doing the act or practice, substantially outweighs the public interest in adhering to the APP or registered APP code. A determination made under Part VI is referred to as a public interest determination (PID). The Information Commissioner also has the power to make a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID), in limited circumstances, where an application for a PID raises issues that require an urgent decision.

Privacy public interest determination guide

The Privacy public interest determination guide assists agencies and private sector organisations who are considering, or making, applications for a PID (and where relevant a TPID) under the Privacy Act. For those considering making an application for a PID, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) strongly encourages discussing the matter with the OAIC in the first instance.