Victoria appoints its first Information Commissioner

August 30, 2017 |

As of 1 September 2017 the State of Victoria will have an Information Commissioner, replacing the position of Privacy Commissioner.  The Information Commissioner will also be responsible for Freedom of Information applications.

The inaugural Information Commissioner is Sven Bluemmel.  Mr Bluemmel was the Western Australian Information Commissioner and prior to that held positions in the Western Australian and Commonwealth Public Services.

The release by the Premier provides:

Victorians will benefit from improved access to government information with Victoria’s first ever Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner soon to be up and running.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings announced today the appointment of Sven Bluemmel as Victoria’s first Information Commissioner, with the new Office open for business from Friday 1 September.

Mr Bluemmel has an impressive history as a leader and expert in information management. Since 2009, he has been Western Australia’s Information Commissioner, an office with similar responsibilities to Victoria’s new Information Commissioner.

Prior to this, he was a Director of WA’s Public Sector Commission, where he led the development of their e-Government Strategy. He has also held various senior roles with the Commonwealth Government and in the private sector across the information and privacy fields. Mr Bluemmel will begin in the role on 25 September.

The new regulator ensures the Victorian community has a single body to oversee Victoria’s FOI, public sector privacy and data protection laws, making it easier to access government information. It will provide independent advice to government and improve the way information is managed.

The establishment of the new Office delivers on the Andrews Labor Government’s plan to streamline the oversight of privacy, data and information laws, and improve information management practices in Victoria.

This reform is part of a broader overhaul of FOI in Victoria and work to strengthen the transparency and accountability of government decision making.

The recruitment of a Public Access Deputy Commissioner and a Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner is also underway.

In the interim, the Information Commissioner will be supported by Sally Winton, as Acting Public Access Deputy Commissioner, and Stephen Mumford, as Acting Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner.

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“Sven Bluemmel’s extensive experience working across freedom of information, privacy and data protection, alongside his extensive leadership in information management, make him ideally suited to lead the new Office.”

“We said that we’d overhaul Victoria’s freedom of information system to give Victorians better access to government information and with this new Office and the appointment of Mr Bluemmel, we’re doing just that.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel

“It is a great privilege to be undertaking this role – the Government’s collection, use and disclosure of information has very real impacts on the lives of each one of us.” 

“The creation of the new Commissioner is an excellent opportunity to bring together freedom of information, privacy and data protection under a single regulator and I am looking forward to leading the new office.”

The announcement is reported in ZDnet and Computerworld.




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