The Freedom of Information Amendment (Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner) Act 2017 received Royal Assent, today, 16 May 2017.
The legislation establishes the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC), to commence operations on 1 September 2017. OVIC will be responsible for freedom of information, privacy and data protection. It will consist of an Information Commissioner, a Public Access Deputy Commissioner, a Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner, and staff to support the exercise of their functions.
The amending Act also contains a range of other measures to improve Victoria’s freedom of information system, including changes to –
- allow the Information Commissioner to review decisions made by Ministers and principal officers; and
- allow the Information Commissioner to review decisions to exempt Cabinet documents; and
- provide for limited use of Cabinet certificates;
- reduce timeframes for responding to requests;
- allow the Commissioner to issue binding professional standards;
- provide for the Information Commissioner to conduct investigations;
- clarify the exemptions for certain IBAC documents; and make other amendments to improve the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
To assist agencies and members of the public in understanding the effect of the amendments on the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Information Commissioner has published a version of the FOI Act with the amendments in track changes – Freedom of Information Act 1982 – with track changes. Please note that the yellow highlighting denotes additional amendments made to the Amending Bill before it passed both Houses of Parliament in May 2017.
For a copy of the amending Act and other information about the legislation, please visit http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/.