Message from the Information Commissioner

February 11, 2020 - 10:08am

As we head into 2020 it is increasingly clear how important information access and privacy are to building transparency and trust for an open and accountable government. Recent and upcoming developments emphasise government agencies need to regularly re-assess, improve and adopt recommended good practices to adapt to our changing environment. Significant reports expected in early 2020 will also determine whether changes are necessary to our privacy legislation.

In 2020 we will increase our focus on fostering greater agency leadership responsibility and accountability, and facilitating agency capability building through new and improved tools and resources. Ensuring your agency has good privacy impact assessment practices will also assist you to consider your responsibilities under the Human Rights Act 2019.

We would like to give our support to everyone affected by, or working to protect the community, during recent months of emergency situations across Australia including bushfires, recent floods in regional Queensland and the novel Coronavirus. It is important that critical information, including personal information, is shared between appropriate entities where it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to a person’s life, or their or the public’s health, safety or welfare. The Information Privacy Act 2009 includes exceptions to privacy principles to support such information sharing.

We look forward to again working collaboratively with our stakeholders this year to uphold and promote information access and privacy rights. Partner with us for Privacy Awareness Week (4-10 May 2020) and stay tuned as we release more details over the coming months on events, training and activities we have planned and how you can get involved. OIC celebrated Safer Internet Day on 11 February 2020 and we also encourage you to think about how you can take action to improve online safety to create a better internet for everyone.

Our best wishes for the year ahead.

Rachael Rangihaeata
Information Commissioner