27 March 2020

Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsmen around the country appreciate that individuals, organisations and government are facing significant challenges to stop the spread of COVID-19. The use of personal information is part of addressing this public health crisis.

Privacy laws at the State, Territory and Federal level contain mechanisms to permit the exchange of critical information in these circumstances. Those laws also require that personal information is handled in a way that is reasonably necessary to prevent and manage COVID-19 and is protected.

As entities move fast to find solutions to public health and economic problems, Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsmen reiterate the value of conducting short-form Privacy Impact Assessments to help ensure personal information is handled in a way that is necessary, reasonable and proportionate.

We have convened a National COVID-19 Privacy Team between the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and states and territories with privacy laws to respond to proposals with national implications.

Angelene Falk
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner

Sven Bluemmel
Information Commissioner, Victoria

Samantha Gavel
Privacy Commissioner, New South Wales

Rachael Rangihaeata
Information Commissioner, Queensland

Philip Green
Privacy Commissioner, Queensland

Richard Connock
Ombudsman, Tasmania

Peter Shoyer
Information Commissioner, Northern Territory

Simon Froude
Director, State Records, Privacy Committee of South Australia

More information on conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment can be found in the OAIC’s new Assessing privacy risks in changed working environments guidance, our 10-step PIA poster, Guide to Undertaking Privacy Impact Assessments and e-learning course Undertaking a Privacy Impact Assessment