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Monday, August 20, 2018

Australian Information Commissioner appointed

After acting in the positions since March, Angelene (apology for earlier typo) Falk was appointed Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner from 16 August for a three year term.

 Congratulations and best wishes.

The appointment sees the government continue to hold fast to the decision that one commissioner not three as legislated is sufficient to manage the privacy, freedom of information and government information functions of the OAIC.

This despite the rise and rise of privacy issues and concerns, the new regulatory framework under development for data management, the ongoing freedom of information battleground and road blocks, and the disappearance from public view at least of the OAIC contribution to information policy-the most recent publication on the website is four years old and the rest much older.

Government also maintains silence- now for 12 months- on a commitment to ensure information access laws and practices are fit for the 21st century.

In an in-tray (more probably in an archive box) somewhere in Canberra are a pile of recommendations put forward over the years by the OAIC and others on how to improve and enhance public access to information as well as the functions of the office.

In the Media release announcing Ms Falk's appointment Attorney General Porter said

Ms Falk has held senior positions in the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) since 2012. These include Deputy Commissioner since 2016 and Acting Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner since March 2018, leading the OAIC in fulfilling the office's functions across privacy, freedom of information and government information management.
Ms Falk has extensive experience delivering the functions of independent regulators and a track record of working across Commonwealth and State agencies, business and the community in law, policy and education.
The Commissioner role is critical to helping ensure the privacy of Australians, particularly in the online environment and I am confident Ms Falk is the appropriate candidate to meet this challenge.
Ms Falk has been at the forefront of addressing regulatory challenges and potential uses of data in a global environment and also worked to promote public access to information held by government.
Ms Falk played a key role across business, community and government agencies on the implementation of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme under the Privacy Act 1988, which commenced in February 2018.
In 2014 Ms Falk oversaw the OAIC's significant work and stakeholder engagement on the implementation of the reforms to the Privacy Act that commenced that year.
I congratulate Ms Falk on her appointment and I look forward to the contribution she will make to the OAIC.

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