Victoria fills out info commission, DTA’s former digital identity lead in privacy role

By Stephen Easton

Thursday November 30, 2017

The Victorian government has appointed two deputies to its newly established Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, which combines responsibilities for privacy and access to state government information.

Rachel Dixon, the former head of digital identity projects at the Digital Transformation Agency, is responsible for privacy and data protection. Executive director Stephen Mumford has been acting in the role. 

Sally Winton has been confirmed as the deputy commissioner for public access to government information, after acting in the role since the new office was established and holding a similar role in the old structure.

They both work under information commissioner Sven Bluemmel, who was appointed in August after resigning from the a roughly equivalent role in Western Australia.

Dixon has had “a diverse and impressive career holding senior positions in the private sector for Australian and International technology companies, where she led large teams and developed expertise in the areas of data, privacy, cybersecurity and information security” before her stint at the DTA, according to a statement from Bluemmel.

“I congratulate Rachel Dixon on her appointment as Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner,” he said.

“With her extensive knowledge of IT, big data, and privacy and information security issues, I am confident Rachel will make a lasting contribution to privacy and data protection in Victoria.”

Dixon recently described the DTA’s Govpass digital identity project as “my beads, not my necklace” on Twitter — a rather sharp reference to comments made by writers John Dunne and Joan Didion about the 1976 Barbra Streisand film A Star is Born, after walking away from the production before it was finished — but she has since deleted the account she used to make those comments. Perhaps a wise move.

Winton has over 11 years’ experience as a government lawyer and policy adviser. She has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland as well as a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

“Sally Winton’s deep understanding of public sector governance and her considerable experience as a government lawyer and policy adviser will support OVIC to improve transparency and accountability in government,” her new boss said. “I congratulate her on being appointed Victoria’s Public Access Deputy Commissioner.”

Previously, the FOI commission was separate from the privacy commission, formerly held by David Watts, who made no secret of the fact that he believed the state was taking a backwards step with the merger.

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