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COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Integrity Entities) Regulations 2020

The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Integrity Entities) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) were made on 19 May 2020 under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020.

Part 2 of the Regulations relate to the modification and application of certain provisions in the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) to facilitate certain administrative processes in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

What does this mean for agencies?

The Regulations make three key temporary changes under the FOI Act including:

  • providing copies of documents subject to an OVIC review claimed to be exempt under section 28, 29A, 31 or 31A by secure electronic means instead of inspection at the agency’s premises (regulation 6);
  • providing for additional ways for the Information Commissioner to serve notices to produce or attend on persons and body corporates (such as by registered post or electronic communication) (regulation 5); and
  • permitting attendance regarding a notice to attend under section 61U of the FOI Act by audio visual link or audio link (this also applies to a person’s legal representative) (regulations 7 and 8).

The main change for agencies subject to the FOI Act will be the provision of documents claimed to be exempt under section 28, 29A, 31 or 31A of the FOI Act.

OVIC has included an FAQ in its FOI business continuity and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs on what this means for agencies. The FAQs are available on OVIC’s website here.

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