Key public sector information oversight roles announced

Senior government legal professionals Sean Morrison and Rachel McCallum have been appointed to key public sector information oversight roles in Victoria and NSW.

Mr Morrison will be Victoria’s new information commissioner, while Ms McCallum will head the NSW Information and privacy Commission.

Rachel McCallum

Mr Morrison previously led the state’s legal response to the royal commissions into disability and aged care as well as the government’s response to the royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system.

He’s also held the role of executive director, legal, privacy and integrity at the Department of Health, having previously been the general counsel at the Department of Government Services.

Most recently, he served as Special Investigator at the Office of the Special Investigator.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner is an independent oversight body that regulates the Victorian public sector’s collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

It has the authority to review decisions, handle complaints, provide advice and education, and monitor compliance with the professional standards related to processing Freedom of Information requests.

Victorian Attorney General Jaclyn Symes Symes said Mr Morrison’s experience across freedom of information, privacy and data protection will ensure he’s well-placed to lead the OVIC.

The appointment fills the vacancy left by Sven Bluemmel, who served as information commissioner since the office was established in 2017 and was appointed Victorian Electoral Commissioner last August.

Appointment follows shakeup at IPC

The NSW government has also announced that Rachel McCallum will take up a three-year-terms as Information Commissioner and CEO of the state’s Information and Privacy Commission (IPC).

Like the OVIC, the IPC administers state legislation dealing with privacy and access to government information.

The Commission has recently undergone a shakeup, and has seen the departure of Elizabeth Tydd  and Angelene Falk.

Ms McCallum said it was a privilege to be appointed to the role.

“The Information and Privacy Commission serves a critical integrity role for public administration in NSW,” she said in a statement.

“Information access and privacy issues are central to the fair and effective adoption of new technologies to deliver public services.” 

Ms McCallum’s statutory role will include dealing with complaints about government agencies and reporting on compliance with the Government Information Public Access (GIPA) Act. 

Her most recent role was as executive director and general counsel at the NSW Electoral Commission and she has held senior positions at Transport for NSW and DP&C.

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