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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 and invite submissions on matters within the review's terms of reference. We are also meeting with stakeholders on specific issues and considering existing research and reports on privacy issues.

We have now released a Discussion Paper, which seeks feedback on proposals for reform and accompanying questions. We will be accepting submissions on the Discussion Paper until 10 January 2022.

This consultation is occurring alongside consultation on the exposure draft of 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

Under the first phase of the review, we invited submissions from members of the public, business, non-profit organisations and public sector agencies on
an Issues Paper. It outlined the current law and sought feedback on potential issues relevant to reform.

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

We are now seeking further feedback on preliminary outcomes, including on possible options for reform. These are outlined in our Discussion Paper.

For information on how to make a submission on the discussion paper visit our consultation page.

We will also be meeting with stakeholders on specific issues, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

Contact details