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Elimination of OAIC slated for January

20 Nov. 2014

On 1 Jan., the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will no longer exist. The office was created in November 2010 to provide unified oversight of government and private sector privacy compliance as well as government compliance with the Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Instead, its functions will be redistributed amongst four other government agencies, with its budget ‑ $10.6 million in 2013-2014 ‑ returned to government coffers.Privacy compliance will be administered by Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim from Sydney. As readers know, privacy surged into the limelight on the back of major changes to the Australian Privacy Act that came into effect last March. FOI oversight has been divided into three categories and distributed over three functional areas. Administrative Appeals Tribunal will manage FOI merit reviews, while the Commonwealth Ombudsman will handle FOI complaints.

Besides saving an estimated $14 million in annual spending, disbanding the OAIC should have little impact on NAID members in the region. If anything, privacy, data security, and compliance should benefit by being restored to its stand-alone status; a status it enjoyed prior to the creation of the OAIC.