Pilgrim given three more months as info commissioner

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Pilgrim given three more months as info commissioner
Timothy Pilgrim

OAIC limbo continues.

Acting information commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has had his appointment extended for another three months as the government’s privacy and FOI authority continues its limbo-like existence.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) announced late on Friday that Attorney-General George Brandis had asked Pilgrim to stay on for a second three-month stint to January 19 2016.

Pilgrim, who has spent the past five years as privacy commissioner, was shifted into the overarching information commissioner role on a temporary basis back in July, as permanent commissioner John McMillan prepared to move on to his new role as NSW Ombudsman.

Pilgrim's first three-month term will expire tomorrow.

The two statutory roles that operate under the information commissioner, overseeing the privacy and FOI functions, both remain unfilled.

The OAIC has advised that Pilgrim will be in charge of discharging the statutory functions of all three positions, covering the Privacy Act 1988, Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

Pilgrim will continue to run an organisation grappling with an uncertain future due to the government's stated - but as yet unfulfilled - intention to dismantle the agency.

The federal government has been working towards dissolving the office since it announced its ‘smaller government’ plans in the 2014 budget.

But the enabling legislation was never passed before the parliament was wrapped up at the end of 2014, and has since lapsed.

The government has yet to detail whether it intends revive the bill, leaving the office to operate in limbo and with a severely depleted budget.

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