Office of the Privacy Commissioner NSW | 02 8019 1600
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Agency Information Guide

This agency information guide for the NSW Office of the Privacy Commissioner (this Office) details who we are, what we do and how the public, organisations, the media and government agencies can interact with us. It is updated regularly to ensure that it provides an accurate picture of our work.

about us

The NSW Privacy Commissioner is a state government funded, independent, statutory officer with oversight of the principal pieces of privacy legislation in New South Wales:

The legislation provides for privacy protection in relation to the handling of:

    • personal information by NSW public sector agencies, and
    • health information by NSW public sector agencies, health providers (whether public or private) and some private sector organisations.

The position of the Privacy Commissioner is established under the PPIP Act. An important part of the Privacy Commissioner's role is to resolve, or assist in the resolution of, complaints that involve breaches of the privacy principles enshrined in NSW Privacy legislation.

The Privacy Commissioner is independent of other government agencies, with the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Police Integrity Commission exercising oversight functions.

This Office is part of the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC), which advocates and enforces rights to government information and privacy. The IPC comprises an independent Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner and offers an integrated and consistent approach to providing advice about access to government information and privacy. Further information about the IPC (including the overarching IPC information guide) can be found on the IPC website or by contacting the IPC on 1800 472 679.

our services

This Office protects privacy in the following ways:
    • by advising individuals, government agencies, business and other organisations on what steps they should take to ensure that the right to privacy is protected
    • by researching significant developments in policy, law and technology which may have an impact on privacy and by making reports and recommendations to relevant authorities
    • by answering enquiries and educating the community about privacy issues
    • by advising people of possible remedies for breaches of their privacy
    • by receiving, investigating and conciliating complaints about breaches of privacy
    • by overseeing the procedural aspects of the conduct of Internal Reviews by agencies (but not the results or "substantive aspects")
    • by appearing in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal in the review of privacy cases.

The key functions of the Privacy Commissioner are described in more detail in section 36 of the PPIP Act and section 58 of the HRIP Act.

information held by this office

open access information
This Office complies with the requirement in section 6 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009(GIPA Act) to make our open access information publicly available on our website.

This Office’s open access information includes:
    • information about this Office contained in documents tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of this Office
    • our policy documents
    • our disclosure log of access applications under the GIPA Act
    • our register of government contracts
    • our register of open access information that is not publicly available due to an overriding public interest against disclosure.

resources for agencies, organisations, the public and the media
Our website contains the following types of resources for agencies, organisations, the public and the media:

Targeted information for these groups can be found in the following links on our website:

information arising from this office’s functions
This Office holds information that arises from our complaint handling, investigative and reporting functions. Such information is listed as excluded information under Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act. This means that you cannot make a formal access application under the GIPA Act for this information as it is conclusively presumed that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of this information.

Although this Office will not normally release excluded information, we will assess any requests for excluded information on a case by case basis. Please contact this Office if you wish to request such information.

other publications
This Office also makes the following types of information publicly available on our website:

how to access our information

Information described in the “information held by this office” section of the agency information guide can be accessed free of charge from this Office’s website. Alternatively you may contact us for a hard copy of this information.

As this Office continues to generate information in the exercise of our day-to-day functions, we will regularly review and consider the types of information we hold for authorised proactive release in accordance with section 7 of the GIPA Act. This will involve making any information (not required by the GIPA Act) publicly available online unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.

If the information you are seeking is not available online, but you believe it to be held by this Office, you can make a request to access it by calling this Office and speaking to the Right to Information Officer.

This Office will endeavour to deal with all information requests informally, requiring a formal access application under the GIPA Act only as a last resort. To support the objects of the GIPA Act, this Office will facilitate access to government information efficiently and at the lowest reasonable cost, usually free of charge, if possible.

public participation

complaints to this office about privacy issues
The public can assist this Office with its role by raising any complaints about privacy issues.

The main types of privacy complaints we deal with are:
    • about physical privacy
    • about personal information or health information, and against an organisation that is not a public sector agency
    • about surveillance.

Except in special circumstances, we will not accept complaints that are against a NSW public sector agency because they should generally be dealt with by the relevant agency under the internal review provisions in the PPIP Act and the HRIP Act.

More detailed information about making privacy complaints to this Office can be found in the complaints section of our website.

This Office welcomes feedback from the public, organisations, government agencies and the media regarding our services and publications. Please contact us if you wish to provide us with your feedback.

community engagement
This Office aims to develop, maintain and strengthen relationships with a diverse range of community groups. The IPC’s Community Liaison Officer is available to attend community events and can assist with booking targeted and culturally appropriate education and information sessions. Please contact us for further information.

our contact details

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s website is located at

To contact us:
    • email:
    • mail: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
    • telephone: (02) 8019 1600 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)
    • visit our office on level 11, 1 Castlereagh Street Sydney

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Last updated: 14 February 2012