As Acting NSW Privacy Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Coombs’ role includes promoting privacy as well as preparing reports recommending legislative, administrative or other action in the interests of privacy as well as conducting inquiries and investigations into privacy related matters. The Privacy Commissioner administers the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act). The Privacy Commissioner reports to the NSW Parliament and is oversighted by the Parliamentary Committee on the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the Crime Commission, a joint statutory committee.
Elizabeth has had a public service career holding both CEO and senior executive positions in the NSW public sector. Her experience and familiarity with NSW Government agencies ranges across central and service agencies such as NSW Health to state owned corporations. She has been responsible for major cross government initiatives, reforms affecting the private sector, structural reforms and Commonwealth – State programs.
Elizabeth served as Commissioner for Fair Trading and more recently as Commissioner, Local Government Grants Commission. Chief Executive Officer roles included Department of Fair Trading, Juvenile Justice and Department for Women. Upon leaving the NSW public service in 2007, she worked mainly in governance and performance areas. She served as Chair and independent member on a number of Audit and Risk Committees for a range of Government Departments.
Elizabeth’s doctoral study involved cross disciplinary research drawing upon the disciplines of political science, classical economics and industrial relations. As Privacy Commissioner, Elizabeth is committed to lifting the profile of privacy within the NSW public sector and the private health sector, and addressing strategic issues that will protect the privacy of individuals generally.
Dr Elizabeth Coombs’ term as NSW Privacy Commissioner expired on 6 November 2016. She has been appointed as Acting/Privacy Commissioner on a part time basis from Monday, 7 November 2016 whilst a recruitment process is underway.