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.

Effective from 1 July 2015, the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) function is transferred to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. It is now the responsibility of this office to protect the interests of people covered by private health insurance.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Postal IndustryACTand Overseas Students Ombudsman.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman also oversees the operation of the federal government public interest disclosure scheme.

Private health insurance complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman

From 1 July 2015, complaints about private health insurance should be directed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Complaints previously directed to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (www.phio.gov.au) from health fund members, health funds, private hospitals or medical practitioners should now be directed to this office.

For more information about private health insurance matters, see www.phio.gov.au.

Tax complaints to the Inspector-General of Taxation

From 1 May 2015, most complaints about the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) must be directed to the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT).

The Commonwealth Ombudsman will continue to deal with complaints concerning Freedom of Information (FOI) or Public Interest Disclosures (PID) issues relating to the ATO or TPB.

For more information, or to make a complaint about tax administration action by the ATO or the TPB, visit www.igt.gov.au or call the Inspector-General of Taxation on 1300 448 829.

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) would be disbanded from 1 January 2015. However, legislation to give effect to this change was not considered by the Senate before the end of the 2014 sitting period. As a result, transitional arrangements that had been put in place from 1 November 2014, with the Commonwealth Ombudsman handling FOI complaints, will continue. The OAIC will continue to handle FOI Information Commissioner reviews. The OAIC will also continue to handle privacy complaints under the Privacy Act 1988.

Information Publication Scheme FOI Disclosure Log Public Interest Diclosure Scheme