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Monday, July 08, 2013

Acting NSW Information Commissioner appointed

Kathrina Lo has been appointed Acting NSW Information Commissioner and acting head of the Information and Privacy Commission from 8 July, with Information Commissioner Deirdre O'Donnell finishing up last Friday. 

The notice on the website doesn't mention this but I understand Ms Lo's substantive position is Director of Justice Policy in the Department of Attorney General and Justice. Someone told me that she will be three days a week as Acting Commissioner, the remaining two back at DAGJ as Director of Justice Policy. 

Not sure who apart from the Attorney General or the head of his department thinks this is adequate or satisfactory given the demands of the job, high rates of staff turnover, long delays in dealing with review applications and complaints.The IPC has been under the pump for many months.

It's not as if there hasn't been time to manage a transition to a replacement or less satisfactorily, a full time acting commissioner. Ms O'Donnell's departure plans were announced in March and recruitment of a replacement was said to be underway at that time.

NSW already has a part time privacy commissioner. 

Ms Lo "will fill this role until the Government makes a longer term appointment to the position."

Experience elsewhere demonstrates "acting" appointments can drag on and on.

In Queensland, Clare Smith, Right to Information Commissioner, is the Acting Information Commissioner. Commissioner Julie Kinross left in August last year. The position is vacant "pending the outcome of a selection process conducted by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and appointment by the Governor-in-Council under the RTI Act. The position was advertised 12 July 2012." 

Lemm Ex takes the prize-he has been Acting Privacy Commissioner in Queensland since December 2011. 

Just ahead of Victorian counterparts. 

Since Helen Vestey left in March 2012, Anthony Bendall acted as privacy commissioner for a year. Currently it's David Watts who is also the Victorian Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data Security and leading the transition to a combined entity.

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