Part VI of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) gives the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) the power to make a determination, by legislative instrument, that an act or practice of an Australian or Norfolk Island Government agency, or a private sector organisation, which may constitute a breach of an Australian Privacy Principle or a registered APP code that binds the entity, shall be regarded as not breaching that principle or registered code for the purposes of the Privacy Act.
In doing so, the Information Commissioner must be satisfied that the public interest in doing the act or practice, substantially outweighs the public interest in adhering to the APP or registered APP code. A determination made under Part VI is referred to as a public interest determination (PID). The Information Commissioner also has the power to make a Temporary Public Interest Determination (TPID), in limited circumstances, where an application for a PID raises issues that require an urgent decision.
The Privacy public interest determination guide assists agencies and private sector organisations who are considering, or making, applications for a PID (and where relevant a TPID) under the Privacy Act. For those considering making an application for a PID, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) strongly encourages discussing the matter with the OAIC in the first instance.
On 24 March 2015 the Privacy Commissioner received an urgent application from Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) for a public interest determination. The determination applied for would permit DVA to disclose personal information to Ernst & Young for the purpose of undertaking a Contestability Review on behalf of the Department of Employment and the Department of Finance, without breaching the Australian Privacy Principles.
UPDATE: On 25 March 2015 the Commissioner made a temporary public interest determination that expires on 22 May 2015.
The listing of current PIDs and TPIDs below constitutes the register of determinations that the Information Commissioner is required to keep in accordance with section 80E of the Privacy Act 1988.
The authoritative versions of all legislative instruments enabled by the Privacy Act 1988 can be found on the ComLaw website at www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A03712/Enables. Determinations under s78(a) that are no longer in force or determinations dismissing an application are found in the Privacy archive section of this website.
Name of determination and ComLaw link
|Privacy (International Money Transfers) Generalising Determination 2015||25 Feb 2015||25 Feb 2020||This determination permits all authorised deposit-taking institution within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959 to disclose the personal information of a beneficiary of an international money transfer to an overseas financial institution when processing an IMT without breaching the Australian Privacy Principles. Related application and consultation information.|
|Privacy (International Money Transfers) Public Interest Determination 2015 (No. 1)||25 Feb 2015||25 Feb 2020||This determination permits Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited to disclose the personal information of a beneficiary of an international money transfer to an overseas financial institution when processing an IMT without breaching the Australian Privacy Principles. Application and consultation information.|
|Privacy (International Money Transfers) Public Interest Determination 2015 (No. 2)||25 Feb 2015||25 Feb 2020||This determination permits the Reserve Bank of Australia to disclose the personal information of a beneficiary of an international money transfer to an overseas financial institution when processing an IMT without breaching the Australian Privacy Principles. Application and consultation information.|
|PID No. 5||4 Dec 1991||1 Oct 2018||To permit the AFP to disclose personal information relating to homicides in the ACT, to the Australian Institute of Criminology.|
|PID No. 3A||14 Dec 1991||1 Oct 2018||To permit disclosure of personal information to relevant statutory disciplinary or regulatory bodies.|
|PID No. 2||12 Nov 1990||1 Oct 2018||To allow certain disclosures for the purpose of considering applications for the Australian honours system.|