Opening of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Cabinet Secretary, Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig today welcomed the Executive Council’s decision on the opening date of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

The Governor-General has proclaimed 1 November 2010 as the day the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 commences.

“The OAIC will open its doors on 1 November 2010, with the Information Commissioner Designate, Professor John McMillan AO, starting as the first Australian Information Commissioner on the same day. The opening of this office represents a new era for Freedom of Information in Australia,” Senator Ludwig said.

The OAIC will bring together the functions of information policy, privacy protection and freedom of information into the same agency for the first time, ensuring the development of a consistent workable information policy across all Australian Government agencies.

Senator Ludwig said the 1 November start date was set after consulting with Professor McMillan and would ensure the Office will be ready to perform its integral role in information policy from day one.

“The Rudd Government is committed to driving a cultural shift across the bureaucracy and to opening of this new independent office and the Government’s enhancement of the FOI Act fulfill that commitment.”

“This Government recognises that transparent and open government is a key component of a healthy and vibrant democracy.”

The incoming Information Commissioner, Professor McMillan, said “The FOI reforms and the opening of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will usher in a new era in open government, marking an historic change in Australian democratic practice.”

“In my early work in establishing the Office I have found widespread support for the reforms, in and outside government. Cultural change is underway,” Professor McMillan said.

Minister Ludwig’s Media Contact: Sarah McSporran 0423 823 843 or (02) 6277 7600

Date of release: 8 June 2010