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Privacy Act amendments

Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Privacy Amendment Act) introduced significant reforms to the Privacy Act 1988 to strengthen privacy protection. These changes commenced on 12 March 2014. The reforms:

  • create a single set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) applying to both Australian Government agencies and the private sector. These principles replaced the Information Privacy Principles and National Privacy Principles and set out the standards, rights and obligations for collecting, handling, holding, accessing, using, disclosing and correcting personal information
  • introduce more comprehensive credit reporting for consumer credit, improved privacy protections and more logical, consistent and simple language
  • strengthen the functions and powers of the Australian Information Commissioner to resolve complaints, use external dispute resolution services, conduct investigations and promote compliance
  • create new provisions on privacy codes and the credit reporting code, including codes that are binding on specified agencies and organisations.

The Act, Second Reading Speech and Explanatory Memorandum are available for download from the Australian Parliament House website.

The Act was considered by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee, which reported on 25 September 2012 (the Senate Committee). The former government tabled a response to the Senate Committee's report on 22 November 2012.

For further information about the application of the APPs visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Regulations

The Privacy Regulation 2013 commenced on 12 March 2014, at the same time as the Privacy Amendment Act. The Regulation repealed the Privacy (Private Sector) Regulations 2001 and Privacy Regulation 2006. The Regulation supports the Privacy Amendment Act, including by clarifying certain credit reporting matters. It also consolidates, updates and simplifies privacy regulations into a single instrument.