Today is a momentous day in access to public sector information for Australia. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was officially launched by the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information (FOI). (media release is at http://www.oaic.gov.au/news/media_release_oaic_launch.html)
The new Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been created to bring together three functions:
• freedom of information functions, in particular, oversight of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and review of decisions made by agencies and ministers under that Act;
• privacy functions, conferred by the Privacy Act 1988 and other laws;
• government information policy functions, conferred on the Australian Information Commissioner under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.
The new web site offers access to informative publications including speeches and fact sheets – a model of an easy to use website.
Very importantly, the OAIC today released Issues Paper 1 Towards an Australian Government Information Policy. The Australian Information Commissioner has invited written comment on ten draft principles on open public sector information by 1 March 2011. See http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/papers.html