Public Interest Determinations
Part VI of the Privacy Act gives the Privacy Commissioner the power to determine that an act or practice of an Australian or ACT Government agency, or a private sector organisation, which may constitute a breach of an Information Privacy Principle, a National Privacy Principle or an approved privacy code, shall be regarded as not breaching that principle or approved code for the purposes of the Act.
The power for the Privacy Commissioner to issue Public Interest Determinations (PIDs) in relation to applications by Australian and ACT Government agencies has existed for some years. The Privacy Commissioner's power to issue determinations in relation to private sector organisations came into effect with the amendments to the Privacy Act in December 2001. These amendments also give the Privacy Commissioner the power to make a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID), in limited circumstances, where an application for a PID contains matters of an urgent nature. The Register of Public Interest Determinations and Temporary Public Interest Determinations and Guidelines for making a PID application appear below.
The listing of Public Interest Determinations and Temporary Public Interest Determinations below constitutes the Register of Determinations which the Privacy Commissioner is required to keep in accordance with Section 80E of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Determinations no longer in operation are found in the Publications Archive section of this website.
Public Interest Determinations
Public Interest Determination 2 (Download in HTML, PDF) Disclosure by the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs to the Office of the Awards and National Symbols Issued 16 July 1990, Gazette 14 December 1991
Public Interest Determination 3A (Download in HTML, PDF) Disclosure by the Director of Public Prosecutions to statutory disciplinary or regulatory bodies Issued 22 August 1991, Gazette 14 December 1991
Public Interest Determination 4 (Download in HTML PDF) Disclosure by the Australian Federal Police to an individual or organisation directly affected by an incident or responsible for the management or resolution of insurance claims or civil litigation Issued 29 April 1991, Gazette 14 December 1991
Application for a Public Interest Determination (Number 6) - Reasons for dismissal (Download in HTML, PDF) Disclosure by the Australian Telecommunications Corporation to law enforcement agencies. Reasons for dismissal of application issued 22 August 1991
Public Interest Determination 7 (Download in HTML, PDF) Disclosures by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of personal information of Australians overseas to their next of kin in certain limited circumstances Issued 21 October 1997, Gazette 19 December 1997.
Public Interest Determination 7A (Download in HTML, PDF) A determination amending Public Interest Determination Number 7: Issued 7 January 1999, Gazette 17 March 1999. Reasons for Public Interest Determination 7A - Download in HTML, PDF
Public Interest Determination 8 (Download in HTML, PDF) Disclosure of personal information contained in certain CDPP files that relate to serious incidences of fraud, dishonesty and deception to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) for research purposes. Issued 22 March 2002, Gazette 1 May 2002, Effective 26 August 2002.
Public Interest Determination 9 and 9A are no longer in force - see Publications Archive
Public Interest Determination 10 and 10A are no longer in force - see Publications Archive
Note that from here on links to determinations are to the authoritative version found on the Australian Government ComLaw website. For all legislative instruments enabled by the Privacy Act 1988 go to this page on ComLaw: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A03712/Enables
Public Interest Determination 11:Determination allowing the collection and use of contact details of genetic relatives to enable disclosure of genetic information. Effective from 15 December 2010 to 14 December 2015 inclusive.
Public Interest Determination 11A Determination giving general effect to PID 11. Effective from 15 December 2010 to 14 December 2015 inclusive.
Public Interest Determination 11B (to correct 3 typographical errors in PIDs 11 and 11A)
Public Interest Determination 12 Determination allowing the collection of family, social and medical histories. Effective from 11 December 2011 to 10 December 2016 inclusive.
Public Interest Determination 12A Determination giving general effect to PID 12. Effective from 11 December 2011 to 10 December 2016 inclusive.
Public Interest Determination 13 Determination allowing the disclosure and collection of personal information to improve outcomes for children and young people at risk of serious harm. Effective from 16 February 2012 to 15 February 2017 inclusive.
Public Interest Determination 13A Determination giving general effect to PID 13. Effective from 16 February 2012 to 15 February 2017 inclusive.
Temporary Public Interest Determinations
There are no current TPIDs.
Temporary Public Interest Determinations (TPIDs) that are no longer current can be found in the Publications Archive section of this website.
Notices of current applications for Public Interest Determinations
See notices of new PID applications on our new consultations page: http://www.oaic.gov.au/news/consultations.html
The Privacy Commissioner has issued Public Interest Determination Procedure Guidelines to assist Australian and ACT public sector agencies and private sector organisations who are considering, or making, applications for a Public Interest Determination (PID) or a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID) under the Privacy Act. Following the amendments to the Privacy Act, which commenced in December 2001, the Office reviewed, consulted upon and revised these guidelines. The guidelines now take account of the new provisions in the Privacy Act in relation to PIDs and TPIDs. For those considering making an application for a PID or a TPID, the Office strongly encourages them, whether an Australian/ACT Government agency or a private sector organisation, to discuss the matter with our Office in the first instance. The revised guidelines, dated November 2002 are available in .html and .pdf versions. Note: The previous Guidelines have been placed on the Archives page.
Note on new procedures for when a PID comes into effect
As a result of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (Cth), any public interest determinations come into effect on the day specified in the determination or, if not specified, on the day following registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments, rather than at the end of the 15-day disallowance period as described at paragraphs 5.5-5.6 of the Office's PID Guidelines (revised November 2002).
By way of explanation, section 80(2) of the Privacy Act purports to vary the effect of section 48 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901. The effect of s 80(2) has, in the past, been that PIDs have only come into effect when the disallowance period passes. However, when the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 was enacted, section 48 of the Acts Interpretations Act was repealed. As section 80(2) is dependent on section 48 of the Acts Interpretations Act, the former section does not have any effect. The Office is currently revising its PID Guidelines to reflect this change. However, the determinations would still be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and the disallowance process.