OAICnet — 14 March 2013

Privacy law reform — less than 12 months to go

It is now less than 12 months until the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) becomes law on 12 March 2014.

It is very important that organisations and agencies begin to prepare for the introduction of the 13 new Australian Privacy Principles, changes to credit reporting and enhanced powers for the Commissioner.

The OAIC has started releasing guidance materials in a range of different areas to assist Australian Government agencies and private sector organisations understand the changes that will occur, and what the OAIC’s regulatory position is in relation to the changes.

Some of these materials will be subject to public consultation and subscribers are encouraged to contribute.

More information on privacy law reform is available on the OAIC website.


Guidelines for developing privacy code

The OAIC has released draft Guidelines for developing codes for public consultation.

One of the key changes to the Privacy Act is in relation to privacy codes of practice. The Privacy Act allows for the development and registration of binding privacy codes that allow agencies and organisations to state how one or more of the new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) are to be applied or complied with, and various other privacy related matters. There will also be a binding credit reporting code (called the CR code) that sets out how the credit reporting requirements will be applied and complied with.

Codes do not replace the relevant provisions of the Privacy Act but operate in addition to, and cannot lessen the privacy rights of an individual provided for in the Privacy Act.

The draft Guidelines for developing codes will assist agencies and organisations to decide whether it is appropriate to develop a code and, if so, how to do so. The Guidelines will also assist agencies and organisations to understand the Commissioner’s expectations in relation to privacy code content, the governance arrangements to support a code, and what will be required for registration, ongoing monitoring and reporting.

As codes and the new APPs operate in tandem, it may be more efficient for agencies or organisations who believe a code would be beneficial in their industry sector to undertake the code development at the same time as they prepare for the introduction of the APPs. Code development can start now and codes can be registered for commencement with the other Privacy Act changes on 12 March 2014. The development of the CR code by ARCA is already occurring.

The OAIC invites all those with an interest in privacy codes to consider the draft guidelines and provide any comments by 12 April 2013. The final version of the Guide will be released as soon as possible after submissions have been considered.

Information Commissioner review decisions

'J' and Department of Health and Ageing [2013] AICmr 21 (8 March 2013)
Request for access to documents — Whether giving access would disclose information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request — Whether disclosure would have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel — Whether disclosure of personal information is unreasonable — Whether documents conditionally exempt from release — Whether contrary to public interest to release conditionally exempt documents — FOI Act ss 11A(5), 22, 47E(c), 47F.

ACP Magazines Limited and IP Australia [2013] AICmr 20 (7 March 2013)
Whether material was obtained in confidence — FOI Act s 45.

Besser and Department of Infrastructure and Transport [2013] AICmr 19 (6 March 2013)
Request for access to documents — Whether documents contain deliberative matters — Certain operations of agencies — Whether disclosure would have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency — Whether documents conditionally exempt from release — FOI Act ss 11A(5), 22, 47C and 47E.

Privacy Awareness Week 2013

Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) will be held from 28 April to 4 May 2013. The focus of the 2013 campaign will be privacy law reform. If you would like to register your organisation or agency as a PAW partner please send an email to corporate@oaic.gov.au.

More information will be available soon.


Privacy Connections is a network for Australian corporate and not-for-profit privacy professionals. In 2013, the network will provide a means to exchange ideas about best privacy practice, ensure awareness of privacy developments (including privacy law reform) and enhance interaction with the OAIC. The network is free of charge. Email corporate@oaic.gov.au with your name and organisation or agency details to join the OAIC’s Privacy Connections network. The first Privacy Connections newsletter has been released and is available on the OAIC website.

If you want to subscribe to this eNewsletter please see our subscriptions page.

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