OAICnet — 7 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

  1. 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.

Share this page

Protecting information rights — advancing information policy