Professor McMillan explained privacy complaints, FOI complaints and Information Commissioner reviews have been increasing by at least 10 per cent a year. When the proposals for FOI reform and the creation of the office were going through the parliament it was projected that the office would have 100 staff. Staff numbers are currently around 64 and will probably stabilise in the next financial year at around 70.
It takes roughly seven months to just designate someone in the office to undertake an FOI review and a lesser but still substantial period to allocate FOI and privacy complaints. Once allocated, time to completion varies but the longest unresolved cases are now over two years old.
While the backlog is reasonably steady at the moment, there are just over 400 Information Commissioner reviews that are unresolved.
This is not what was promised or expected.
Dr Hawke's review report must be tabled within 15 sitting days of 31 April and is awaited with interest.
The Hansard extract follows: