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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

OVIC recognises that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant impacts on the general public and Victorian public sector (VPS) organisations operating under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (PDP Act).

See below for guidance on freedom of information, privacy, information security and the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Freedom of information guidance

  • We published FOI and COVID-19 FAQs for agencies on document searches, delays in processing requests, where to seek assistance, reviews and complaints.
  • We also published FOI and COVID-19 FAQs for members of the public on making an FOI request when agencies are working remotely and possible delays in processing requests.
  • These FAQs were retired on 30 April 2021, and updated and re-issued in August 2021 due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Privacy guidance

  • OVIC and the Office of the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) jointly published guidance to help VPS organisations and health providers that handle health information understand their privacy obligations while dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • We published tips for VPS employees on how to respect privacy and protect public sector information while working remotely.

Information security guidance

  • VPS organisations must continue to manage information security risks during this time. We published an information sheet addressing frequently asked questions on information security risks and obligations and the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Our tips for VPS employees when working remotely also addresses the use of third party collaboration tools, the importance of secure workspaces and more.

Regulatory coordination

  • State and territory privacy regulators, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) have convened a National COVID-19 Privacy Team to respond to personal information handling proposals with national implications.
  • Australian Information Access Commissioners joined with their international counterparts in their clear call for transparency and the right to access information as governments, businesses and citizens deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Global Privacy Assembly has established a repository of guidance and resources on the global impact of COVID-19 in partnership with the international data protection and privacy community to share knowledge, tools and practical support.

OVIC’s business continuity arrangements

  • Read more on OVIC’s business continuity arrangements and the implications for FOI reviews and complaints, statutory timeframes, protecting public sector information, making privacy complaints, training and more.


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