Developing an APS-wide Privacy Code

18 May 2017
Tags: statement

Joint Statement

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

An Australian Public Service (APS) Privacy Code will be developed to support the Australian Government’s public data agenda.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner (the Commissioner) will work collaboratively on the new Code to enhance the capability of Commonwealth agencies to deliver data innovation that integrates personal data protection.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will develop the code and its supporting resources. The OAIC is uniquely placed to develop the code given its specific privacy expertise and experience. The Code will then be implemented across the APS with the support of PM&C. The Secretary of PM&C, Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, and the Commissioner, Mr Timothy Pilgrim PSM, have exchanged letters formalising the Code’s development.

PM&C supports the development of the Code, as strong personal data protection is vital to unlocking the potential of government-held data. The value of publicly held data is often maximised when it can be shared and built upon, so it is vital that APS-wide standards and capabilities are obtained. The Code can therefore be a catalyst to transform the Australian Government’s data performance – increasing both internal capacity and external transparency to stakeholders.

Commissioner Pilgrim said that he welcomes PM&C’s positive approach. “Privacy protection fully supports data innovation when an integrated approach is taken.”

“The Privacy Code, and its supporting tools and resources, will ensure the APS has the skills and capabilities to place that integrated approach at the centre of public sector innovation. We are looking to make best practice the only practice for government-held data.”

The Privacy Code will apply to all Australian Government entities subject to the Australian Privacy Act 1988.

It will be developed in close collaboration with the APS and data stakeholders, and will also be the subject of public consultation. The Code will be implemented in 2018.