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A-G appoints standalone privacy commissioner to bolster national privacy

Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has announced that the government will appoint a standalone privacy commissioner to deal with the growing threats to data security and the increasing volume and complexity of privacy issues.

user iconJess Feyder 03 May 2023 Big Law
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“Australians rightly expect their privacy regulator to have the resources and powers to meet the ongoing challenges of the digital age and protect their personal information,” stated Mr Dreyfus.

The large-scale data breaches of 2022 were distressing for millions of Australians, with sensitive personal information being exposed to the risk of identity fraud and scams.”

Mr Dreyfus continued: “This action is in significant contrast to that of the former Liberal government, which left Australia disgracefully unprepared for this challenge by failing to strengthen privacy laws, and scrapping the position of a standalone privacy commissioner.”


Mr Dreyfus maintained that the Albanese government takes privacy regulation seriously and has already acted to significantly increase penalties for companies that fail to take adequate care of customer data and give the Australian information commissioner improved and new powers.

“The Australian people rightly expect greater protections, transparency and control over their personal information, and the appointment of the standalone privacy commissioner restores the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to the three-commissioner model Parliament originally intended,” stated Mr Dreyfus.

Currently, the Australian information commissioner Angelene Falk holds a dual appointment as the privacy commissioner.

“I thank Ms Falk for her dedicated service in this role since 2018,” stated Mr Dreyfus. “Ms Falk will remain information commissioner and head of the OAIC.”

“A merit-based selection process to fill the role of privacy commissioner will commence today,” he announced. “Ms Falk will continue as the privacy commissioner until this process is finalised.”

The A-G also announced the appointment of a new freedom of information commissioner.

“In light of the recent resignation of Mr Leo Hardiman PSM KC as freedom of information commissioner, I am also pleased to announce that we have appointed Ms Toni Pirani as acting freedom of information commissioner, effective 20 May 2023,” he stated. 

“I thank Mr Hardiman for his significant contribution and wish him well in his future endeavours.

“Appointing an acting FOI commissioner will ensure that the OAIC can continue to undertake its FOI functions until a permanent appointment is made.”

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