Budget 2009 10: Legal issues and
the Attorney-General's portfolio
Mary Anne Neilsen
The Government will provide $20.1 million (including
$2.5 million in capital funding) over four years from
2009–10 to 2012–13 for the establishment of the Office
of the Information Commissioner. The establishment of the Office
will include the appointment of an Information Commissioner and a
Freedom of Information (FOI) Commissioner. The existing Office of
the Privacy Commissioner will also be incorporated into the new
agency. As a
result, information policy, privacy protection and FOI functions
will be combined in one agency. The legislation to establish the
new Office will also contain reforms to the Freedom of
Information Act 1982.
Exposure draft legislation to introduce these changes was
released in March 2009 and the Government proposes the Bills be
introduced into the Parliament later this year and be operational
by January 2010.
The proposed changes are part of the Government’s response
to its 2007 election policy that it would reform the FOI Act with
the principal objects of promoting a pro-disclosure culture across
Government and building a stronger foundation for more openness in
Companion Guide to the exposure draft legislation provides further
detail on the changes.
Along with a range of other agencies within the Prime Minister and
Cabinet portfolio, the Government will reduce funding for the
Office of the Privacy Commissioner by $0.1 million each year
for the next four years. Savings will be achieved through
reductions in non-essential agency operating expenditure.
. Information Commissioner
Bill 2009 (Exposure draft 24/3/09); Freedom of Information
Amendment (Reform) Bill (Exposure draft 24/3/09). Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet website, viewed 18 May 2009, http://www.dpmc.gov.au/consultation/foi_reform/index.cfm
. J Faulkner (Cabinet
Secretary), Freedom of information (FOI) reform: companion
guide, March 2009, viewed 18 May 2009,
Faulkner, Companion guide.