How well is GIPA working? Better, according to a recent report
The 2017-2018 Report on the Operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) (Report) prepared by the NSW Information and Privacy Commission was released on 28 February 2019.
The Report confirms government agencies have strengthened compliance with the GIPA Act in terms of:
- increased proactive release of information through better systems, governance and resourcing
- steady release of information by access application made by members of the public, members of parliament, not-for-profit and community groups and businesses, and media.
However, the Report also noted decreased timeliness of response times requiring a focused resourcing response. The Report contains a detailed analysis of the outcomes achieved for the actions identified in the previous report.
The Report noted the NSW commitment to Open Government and identified the following future focus strategies:
- systemic compliance through release of a self-audit tool to elevate compliance with core requirements for sound information governance
- mandatory proactive release through investigation of low compliance of agencies
- authorised proactive release through publishing of a guideline to promote release of Open Data by agencies
- informal release through working with identified agencies, including the NSW Police Force
- release of information with access applications through assisting the receipt of valid applications by engaging agencies who experienced increased or decreased receipt rate of valid applications
- external reviews through publically reporting on compliance with timeliness in finalising external reviews.
Further, the Report has signalled the NSW Information and Privacy Commissioner’s intention to enhance the timeliness and quality of the agencies’ responses by supporting electronic lodgement of access applications, which has the expected benefit of decreasing invalid applications which are a drain on agency resources.
Editorial: Lyn Nicholson & Jeffery Shi
In the media
Western Australia to adopt uniform law Australia is a step closer to having a national legal market, with Western Australia signing a landmark agreement to join the Legal Profession Uniform Law Scheme, NSW, Victorian and Western Australian Attorneys General Mark Speakman, Jill Hennessy and John Quigley announced today (28 February 2019). More...
Working together to improve access to justice for cross-border communities The Cross-border justice report, released by Victoria Legal Aid and Legal Aid NSW, outlines how the commissions will improve access to legal assistance along the Victorian/NSW border (28 February 2019). More...
Open justice under examination The NSW LRC will begin an extensive review of laws that impact access to court information. The Open Justice Review will determine whether our laws strike the right balance between protecting the rights of victims and witnesses, privacy, confidentiality and the public interest in open justice (28 February 2019). More...
Have your say on national defamation law The NSW-led process of reforming national defamation laws has reached another significant milestone with the release of the Council of Attorneys-General's (CAG) discussion paper, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today (26 February 2019). More...
Attack on State's Judiciary concerning The Law Society of NSW, which represents the interests of the state’s 34,000 solicitors, has voiced its concerns about media criticism of the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, including media claims of ‘judicial overreach’ in relation to a recent and extensive judgment by the Honourable Chief Judge Brian Preston SC (19 February 2019). More...
In practice and courts
LSC: Our Annual Reports 2017-2018 now available Following tabling in both the NSW and Victorian Parliaments, our 2017-2018 Annual Reports for the Legal Services Council and the Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation are now available (19 February 2019) Inside, you will find progress reports and comparative data regarding the Uniform Law. Highlights are outlined here.
High Court of Australia Bulletins High Court of Australia Bulletin  HCAB 01 (26 February 2019). More...
NCAT new orders: Tenancy law changes for victims of domestic violence From 28 February 2019 changes to tenancy laws allow tenants to end their tenancy immediately and without penalty if they or their dependent children are in circumstances of domestic violence. Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 NCAT can make orders following the service of a domestic violence termination notice. The following application forms have been updated with the new order types. More...
Public Consultation: Review of model defamation provisions The Defamation Working Party is seeking feedback on defamation law in Australia, to assess how the legal principles apply in the digital age and identify areas for national reform. Submissions close on 30 April 2019. More...
NSW LRC: Open Justice Review - Court and tribunal information: access, disclosure and publication The Attorney General has asked us to review the operation of suppression and non-publication orders and access to information in NSW courts and tribunals. See the Terms of reference. The deadline for preliminary submissions is Friday 31 May 2019. Information about making a submission may be found on our website: Making a submission (28 February 2019).
IPC: GIPA Act report reveals information access applications and proactive release by agencies on the rise in 2017/18 The NSW Information Commissioner has released the eighth annual Report on the operation of the GIPA Act 2017 – 2018 (28 February 2019). More...
JUDCOM: Sexual Assault Trials Handbook Update 23 published 15 February 2019 - Update 23 of the Sexual Assault Trials Handbook includes: [1-040] Meaning of “consent” Following the commencement of the relevant provisions of the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018, which introduced a new consent provision, s 61HE into the Crimes Act 1900, a brief legislative history of the consent provisions has been included in the Handbook. More...
Published - articles, papers, reports
Cross-border justice: exploring ways to improve access to legal assistance along the NSW/Victorian border Victoria Legal Aid, Legal Aid New South Wales; Victoria Legal Aid: 28 February 2019 Many border communities experience complex and unique challenges in accessing justice and have a proportionally higher demand for legal services than other parts of Victoria and New South Wales. More...
Review of Model Defamation Provisions: Discussion paper Council of Attorneys-General; Department of Justice (NSW): 27 February 2019 This discussion paper invites public feedback on the Model Defamation Provisions to assess whether the existing laws are meeting their policy objectives, particularly in response to the rise of online publications and technological changes since the provisions were developed. More...
The impact of private versus public legal representation on criminal proceedings BOSCAR: 15 February 2019 Legal Aid NSW indictable matters assigned to private defence lawyers are more likely to be finalised at a later stage in proceedings and are more likely to be finalised in the Higher Court. More...
Del Fabbro v Industrial Relations Secretary on behalf of the Secretary, Department of Justice (Corrective Services NSW)  NSWIRComm 1015 PUBLIC SECTOR DISCIPLINARY APPEAL – Dismissal – appellant allowed inmates to take contraband into correctional centre – serious misconduct – dismissal not unreasonable or unjust – mitigating circumstances – dismissal harsh – appeal allowed – some punishment warranted – no order for back pay.
Treble v Building Professionals Board  NSWCATOD 34 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Accredited certifier – findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct – disciplinary orders varied as to amount of fine.
Fisher v Goulburn Mulwaree Council  NSWCATAD 34 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - GIPA Act – Government Information – access – record keeping – relevance - sufficiency of searches.
Davie v Industrial Relations Secretary (Department of Justice, Corrective Services NSW)  NSWIRComm 1012 VICTIMISATION – Application for orders by dismissed Public Service senior executive – reinstate or re-employ – pay compensation – jurisdictional objection – implied repeal of power to make orders sought – privative provision – express displacement – application dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.
Pavlou v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force  NSWCATOD 27 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Security licensing – where applicant’s application for a security licence refused by respondent - where applicant convicted of fraud and other offences – where no evidence of remorse – where applicant not candid with Tribunal – whether applicant a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
Zonnevylle v Department of Justice  NSWCATAP 44 APPEAL – Scope of NCAT’s internal appeal jurisdiction - meaning of s 111 and s 112 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 - whether certain “questions of law” should be referred to the Supreme Court – whether Member at first instance and on appeal should give permission to record proceedings – whether Members at first instance and on appeal should disqualify themselves for bias.
Hindmarsh v NSW Ministry of Health  NSWCATAD 30 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Administrative Review - access to Government Information – personal information – health information – no consent to release – application of public interest test.
Proclamations commencing Acts
Criminal Legislation Amendment (Consorting and Restricted Premises) Act 2018 No 50 (2019-84) — published LW 22 February 2019
Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Regulation 2019 (2019-85) — published LW 22 February 2019
Young Offenders Amendment (Exempted Sexual Offences) Regulation 2019 (2019-92) — published LW 22 February 2019
Children (Detention Centres) Amendment (Classification) Regulation 2019 (2019-117) — published LW 28 February 2019
Electoral Amendment (Exemptions) Regulation 2019 (2019-139) — published LW 28 February 2019
Justices of the Peace Amendment (Exemptions) Regulation 2019 (2019-124) — published LW 28 February 2019
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Penalty Notice Offences) Regulation 2019 (2019-128) — published LW 28 February 2019