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Information policy

This guideline sets out the general policy of the Productivity Commission (‘the Commission’) on the collection, use and disclosure of information.

General policy

  1. The Commission seeks to obtain information on a voluntary basis, by inviting participation and submissions from interested parties in its inquiry and research processes. Depending on circumstances, the Commission may use its statutory powers to obtain information.
  2. The Commission will endeavour to draw upon existing information sources to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and to minimise the burden placed on those from whom information is requested.
  3. Information (including confidential information) collected by the Commission may be viewed by Commission members, staff, contractors and consultants (for example, when the Commission obtains an opinion, analysis or review by an expert adviser).
  4. The Commission’s strong preference is that information provided to its public inquiries be provided as public documents that can be placed on the Commission's website for others to read and comment on. Each submission to a public inquiry, except for any attachment supplied in confidence, will be published on the Commission's website shortly after receipt, and will remain there indefinitely as a public document.
    The Commission reserves the right to not publish material on its website that is offensive, potentially defamatory, or clearly out of scope for the inquiry or study in question.
    Copyright in submissions sent to the Commission resides with the author(s), not with the Commission.
    A party should not submit material for which it is not the copyright owner - such as newspaper articles – a reference or link can be made to this material in the submission.
  5. However, information which is of a confidential nature or which is submitted in confidence can be treated as such by the Commission, provided the cause for such treatment is shown. The Commission may also request a non-confidential summary of the confidential material it is given, or the reasons why a summary cannot be provided.
  6. A party that provides information to the Commission should clearly identify the part of the information that it regards as confidential. Reasons should be provided in support of a claim of confidentiality. The identified information must be genuinely of a confidential nature and not otherwise publicly available. ‘In Confidence’ or ‘Confidential’ should be clearly marked on the relevant part(s) of the document (to reduce the risk of inadvertent disclosure), and preferably in a separate attachment to non-confidential material.
    Parties are encouraged to contact the Commission for further information and advice before submitting such material.
  7. The Commission will, to the extent reasonably possible, seek to protect confidential information. The Commission recognises that in some cases release of confidential information may have an adverse effect on a party. This may also affect the willingness of other information providers to assist the Commission in its functions.
  8. The Commission is committed to treating confidential information responsibly and in accordance with the law. In some circumstances, the Commission may be legally required to produce confidential information. In most cases, the Commission will endeavour to notify and consult the person who provided confidential information about the proposed release of that information. Circumstances in which the Commission may be required to produce material in certain circumstances include:
    • in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), subject to exemptions applicable under that Act
    • in response to a subpoena or summons issued in proceedings
    • in response to a statutory discovery obligation to disclose documents
    • in response to a minister, house of parliament or another government agency’s power to obtain information, and
    • under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth) (which is concerned with the preservation and use of archival resources).
  9. The Commission only collects personal information for purposes which are directly related to its functions or activities. A full Privacy Policy is available on the Commission’s website.
    For privacy purposes, all personal details (e.g. home and email address, signatures, phone, mobile and fax numbers) will be removed from submissions to public inquiries before they are published on the website.
    Please do not include these details within your submission files unless necessary. You may wish to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym. Please note that, if you choose to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym, the Commission may place less weight on your submission.

The application of this general policy will depend on the particular situation. The Commission will depart from the general policy where appropriate.

Technical matters

The Commission prefers to receive submissions as a Microsoft Word (.docx) files. PDF files are acceptable if produced from a Word document or similar text based software. You may wish to research the Internet on how to make your documents more accessible or for the more technical, follow advice from Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

Do not send password protected files.

Track changes, editing marks, hidden text and internal links should be removed from submissions.

To minimise linking problems, type the full web addresses (for example,