The Commonwealth Ombudsman safeguards the community in its dealings with Australian Government agencies.
The Ombudsman’s office handles complaints, conducts investigations, performs audits and inspections, encourages good administration, and carries out specialist oversight tasks.
The Public Interest Disclosure Bill passed by parliament in June 2013 confers new roles and responsibilities on the Ombudsman to oversee the operation of the federal government public interest disclosure scheme.
Transfer of FOI complaint handling role from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to the Commonwealth Ombudsman
In the Portfolio Budget Statements - 2014-2015, the Government announced that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will be disbanded by 1 January 2015. As part of the transition to the new arrangements, from 1 November 2014, the Commonwealth Ombudsman will commence handling complaints about the processing of Freedom of Information requests. Any complaints received by the OAIC after this date will be transferred to the Ombudsman. From 1 January 2015, reviews of FOI decisions will be handled by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Privacy Commissioner will remain responsible for handling complaints under the Privacy Act 1988.
Transfer of tax complaint handling role from the Taxation Ombudsman to the Inspector-General of Taxation
In the Portfolio Budget Statements - 2014-2015, the Government announced a transfer of the tax complaint handling role from the Taxation Ombudsman to the Inspector-General of Taxation. The transfer requires changes to the legislation of both agencies. Until such legislation is passed by the Parliament, complaints about the Australian Taxation Office should continue to be directed to the Taxation Ombudsman (part of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman).
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