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New Data Protection Laws Australia: How Implementation Works

New Data Protection Laws Australia
The New Data Protection Laws Australia was introduced to protect the privacy of individual regulate how Australian Government handles personal data.

New Data Protection Laws Australia: How Implementation Works

The New Data Protection Laws Australia was introduced to promote and protect the privacy of individuals and to regulate how Australian Government agencies and organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, and some other organisations, handle personal information.

The New Data Protection Laws Australia includes 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which apply to some private sector organisations, as well as most Australian Government agencies. These are collectively referred to as ‘APP entities’. The New Data Protection Laws Australia also regulates the privacy component of the consumer credit reporting system, tax file numbers, and health and medical research.

The New Data Protection Laws Australia regulates the way individuals’ personal information is handled.

Who Has Rights Under The New Data Protection Laws Australia?

The New Data Protection Laws Australia regulates the way individuals’ personal information is handled. As an individual, the New Data Protection Laws Australia gives you greater control over the way that your personal information is handled. The New Data Protection Laws Australia allows you to:

  • know why your personal information is being collected, how it will be used and who it will be disclosed to
  • have the option of not identifying yourself, or of using a pseudonym in certain circumstances
  • ask for access to your personal information (including your health information)
  • stop receiving unwanted direct marketing
  • ask for your personal information that is incorrect to be corrected
  • make a complaint about an organisation or agency the personal data protection act covers, if you think they’ve mishandled your personal information

Who Has Responsibilities Under The New Data Protection Laws Australia?

Australian Government agencies (and the Norfolk Island administration) and organisations with an annual turnover more than $3 million have responsibilities under the New Data Protection Laws Australia, subject to some exceptions.

Also read: How Being Data Protection Trained Can Help With Job Retention

What is an organisation?

The New Data Protection Laws Australia defines an organization as:

  • an individual, including a sole trader (though generally, the New Data Protection Laws Australia doesn’t apply to an individual acting in a personal capacity)
  • a body corporate
  • a partnership
  • any other unincorporated association, or
  • a trust
  • unless they’re a small business operator, registered political party, state or territory authority or a prescribed instrumentality of a state.
The Australian Privacy Commissioner is exercising some of the ACT Information Privacy Commissioner’s functions.

What small businesses are covered?

New Data Protection Laws Australia cover some small business operators (organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or less), including:

  • a private sector health service provider — an organisation that provides a health service includes:
    • a traditional health service provider, such as a private hospital, a day surgery, a medical practitioner, a pharmacist and an allied health professional
    • a complementary therapist, such as a naturopath and a chiropractor
    • a gym or weight loss clinic
    • a child care center, a private school and a private tertiary educational institution
  • a business that sells or purchases personal information
  • a credit reporting body
  • a contracted service provider for a Australian Government contract
  • an employee association registered or recognized under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
  • a business that has opted-in to the New Data Protection Laws Australia
  • a business that is related to a business that is covered by the New Data Protection Laws Australia
  • a business prescribed by the New Data Protection Laws Australia regulation 2013

Which Acts And Practices Are Covered By The New Data Protection Laws Australia?

Particular acts and practices of some other small business operators are covered by the New Data Protection Laws Australia including:

  • activities of a reporting entity or authorized agent relating to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and its regulations and rules
  • acts and practices to do with the operation of a residential tenancy database
  • activities related to the conduct of a protected action ballot

The New Data Protection Laws Australia also covers specified persons handling your:

  • consumer credit reporting information, including a credit reporting body, a credit provider (which includes energy and water utilities and telecommunication providers) and certain other third parties
  • tax file numbers under the Tax File Number Guidelines
  • personal information contained on the Personal Property Securities Register
  • old conviction information under the Commonwealth Spent Convictions Scheme
  • My Health Record information under the My Health Records Act 2012 and individual healthcare identifiers under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010
Particular acts and practices of some other small business operators are covered by the New Data Protection Laws Australia.

Who Doesn’t Have Responsibilities Under The New Data Protection Laws Australia?

The New Data Protection Laws Australia does not cover:

  • state or territory government agencies, including a state and territory public hospital or health care facility (which is covered under state and territory legislation) except:
    • certain acts and practices related to My Health Records and individual healthcare identifiers
    • an entity prescribed by the Privacy Regulation 2013
  • an individual acting in their own capacity, including your neighbors
  • a university, other than a private university and the Australian National University
  • a public school
  • in some situations, the handling of employee records by an organisation in relation to current and former employment relationships
  • a small business operator, unless an exception applies (see above)
  • a media organisation acting in the course of journalism if the organisation is publicly committed to observing published privacy standards
  • registered political parties and political representatives

Privacy laws applying to ACT public sector agencies

The Information personal data protection act 2014 (ACT) applies to Australian Capital Territory (ACT) public sector agencies.

The Information personal data protection act includes a set of Territory Privacy Principles (TPPs) that cover the collection, use, disclosure, storage, access to, and correction of, personal information. The TPPs are similar to the Australian Privacy Principles.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner is exercising some of the ACT Information Privacy Commissioner’s functions. These responsibilities include investigating privacy complaints about ACT public sector agencies, and receiving data breach notifications from ACT public sector agencies.

Also read: Top 25 Data Protection Statistics That You Must Be Informed

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