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Thursday, February 28, 2013

OAIC squeezed-make that throttled

Further to the recent reference here to the squeeze on Office of Australian Information Commissioner resources, there is an update in a supplementary OAIC submission to the Hawke review published yesterday. The issue sounds even more serious (emphasis added):
 In our submission, we gave information about the OAIC's staffing and funding levels since its establishment until December 2012.[15] The situation has changed further since then. We noted in our submission that the OAIC was structured around the former Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC). Initial planning anticipated that an average staffing level (ASL) of 68 OPC staff would be joined by an additional 32 staff for the FOI and information policy functions, for a combined ASL of 100. The OPC had an ASL of 60 at the end of 2009–10. By the end of 2010–11, the OAIC had an ASL of 75.26. This was projected to rise to 81 in the 2011–12 budget; the actual 2011–12 ASL was 79.87.
The 2012–13 portfolio budget statement forecast an ASL of 79. As at December 2012, the OAIC had 77.85 full-time equivalent staff;[16] as at February 2013, it has 63 (only three more than the OPC had when the OAIC commenced operation). This further reduction is the result of voluntary redundancies, and the non-extension of contracts, made necessary by the OAIC's limited budget.
On the same day the OAIC published three FOI review decisions: Besser 18 months after it was received, Fletcher after 17 months, and Davies  after 11 months. 

This is not the essential speedy access to independent external review of administrative decisions.


  1. It would be interesting to have comparatives for the states particularly for Qld since we have seen contracts not renewed, redundancies and cutting og Public service staff (supposedly not front-line some 14,000 people.
    The number of decisions made by OIC Qld

    Year index

    1994 (33)
    1995 (44)
    1996 (38)
    1997 (77)
    1998 (83)
    1999 (74)
    2000 (63)
    2001 (63)
    2002 (74)
    2003 (44)
    2004 (38)
    2005 (48)
    2006 (55)
    2007 (79)
    2008 (41)
    2009 (66)
    2010 (47)
    2011 (55)
    2012 (76)
    2013 (2)

    There has to be a massive backlog of decisions remaining outstanding.

  2. I suppose they are published decisions and don't include other reviews possibly resolved in other ways- probably including some where the applicant withdrew in frustration.

    Going a step further a comparative study of the Australian review models, systems and processes, resources and efficiency and effectiveness indicators would provide a useful insight into what goes. Perhaps something along these lines might be included if the joint information commissioners/academic study foreshadowed in the joint Hawke submission by Breit, Henman, Lidberg, and Snell gets off the ground.

  3. The submission to the Hawke review is very good, I refeered to this joint information commissioners/academic study foreshadowed by Breit, Henman, Lidberg and Snell i my submission on communication protocols between agencies and ministers in Qld regarding contentious issue management.
    What as members of the general public can we do individually to ensure the study does get of the ground.

  4. Oh for someone/ many with deep pockets for a good cause.