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Review of the Privacy Act 1988

Closing date

On 12 December 2019, the Attorney-General announced that the Australian Government would conduct a review of the Privacy Act 1988 to ensure privacy settings empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy. The review was announced as part of the government's response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Digital Platforms Inquiry.

We are drawing upon a range of sources for the review including submissions from stakeholders on matters within the review's terms of reference provided in response to 2 consultation papers. The review will also consider feedback obtained through discussions with stakeholders on specific issues and existing research and reports on privacy issues.

The review is occurring alongside the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enhancing Online Privacy and Other Measures) Bill 2021 (Online Privacy Bill). The Online Privacy Bill will introduce a binding Online Privacy code for social media and certain other online platforms. It will also increase penalties and enhance enforcement measures.

Terms of reference

The review covers areas including:

  • the scope and application of the Privacy Act
  • whether the Privacy Act effectively protects personal information and provides a practical and proportionate framework for promoting good privacy practices
  • whether individuals should have direct rights of action to enforce privacy obligations under the Privacy Act
  • whether a statutory tort for serious invasions of privacy should be introduced into Australian law
  • the impact of the notifiable data breach scheme and its effectiveness in meeting its objectives
  • the effectiveness of enforcement powers and mechanisms under the Privacy Act and how they interact with other Commonwealth regulatory frameworks
  • the desirability and feasibility of an independent certification scheme to monitor and demonstrate compliance with Australian privacy laws.

See the Review of the Privacy Act 1988 – Terms of reference for further details.

Consultation

The review published an Issues Paper in October 2020and sought feedback on potential issues relevant to reform.

Read submissions received in response to the Review of the Privacy Act 1988 issues paper

The review published a Discussion Paper in October 2021 and sought feedback on possible options for reform. The period for submissions on the Discussion Paper closed on 10 January 2022.

Read submissions received in response to the Review of the Privacy Act 1988 discussion paper

The review is also considering feedback obtained through roundtable discussions convened with stakeholders on specific issues.

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