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Data Government Development

OAIC gets additional funding to improve data protection and FOI

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The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is receiving additional funding for their data protection and freedom of information functions through the 2021-22 Federal Budget.  

As part of the Digital Economy Strategy, the OAIC will be given funding to improve privacy protection within the Government over the next two years. 

The OAIC will receive $1.454 million per year for the expansion of the Consumer Data Right. The organisation co-regulates the Consumer Data Right and oversees privacy protections within the system. Its expansion will allow consumers to have a greater choice and control over their data. 

The additional funding will also allow the OAIC to oversee privacy protections within the My Health Record system. The $2.070 million the OAIC will receive every year will replace the previous Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Digital Health Agency. 

The OAIC will also receive $1 million per year to assist with freedom of information (FOI) functions. This will include an appointment of an FOI Commissioner after the significant increase in applications for an Information Commissioner review of FOI decisions by agencies and ministers over the recent years. 

The number of Information Commissioner review applications has increased by 109% during 2015-16 and 2019-20. Over the same period, the OAIC increased the number of reviews finalised by 83% by implementing a range of case management and efficiency measures. 

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the additional resources the OAIC will receive would help manage the rise of incoming FOI and privacy regulatory work. 

“I welcome the additional funding announced in the Budget for the OAIC’s work across privacy and access to information,” Commissioner Falk said. “This will allow the OAIC to continue our efforts to ensure the protection of Australians’ CDR data, which is critical in the growing digital economy.”

While the OAIC will continue overseeing the privacy protections and expansion of the My Health Records system, the budget allocated to FOI functions will help uphold  Australians’ right to access to government documents.

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