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Albanese government to strengthen privacy protections

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

The Albanese Government has committed to stronger privacy protections for Australians in its response today to the landmark review of the Privacy Act.

Australians increasingly rely on digital technologies for work, education, health care and daily commercial transactions and to connect with loved ones. But when they are asked to hand over their personal data they rightly expect it will be protected.

The Government’s response to the review agrees, or agrees in-principle, with the majority of the review’s proposals, including:

  • giving individuals greater control over their privacy by requiring entities to seek informed consent about the handling of personal information;
  • establishing stronger protections for children, including the introduction of a Children’s Online Privacy Code;
  • making entities accountable for handling individuals’ information and enhancing requirements to keep information secure, including destroying data when it is no longer needed; and
  • providing entities with greater clarity on how to protect individuals’ privacy, and simplifying their obligations when handling personal information on behalf of another entity.

The Government will also work with the small business sector, as well as employer and employee representatives, on enhanced privacy protections for private sector employees and for small businesses.

These next steps build on legislation passed last year which significantly increased penalties for repeated or serious privacy breaches, and provided the Australian Information Commissioner with greater powers to address privacy breaches.

The Attorney-General’s Department will conduct an impact analysis and continue to work with the community, business, media organisations and government agencies to inform the development of legislation and guidance material in this term of Parliament. The Government will also consider appropriate transition periods as part of the development of any legislation.

Privacy reform will complement other critical reforms being progressed by the Government, including Digital ID, the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, the National Strategy for Identity Resilience, and Supporting Responsible AI in Australia.

The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring Australians can benefit from the latest technologies, while knowing that their personal information is safe and secure.

Read the Government response to the Privacy Act Review Report on the Attorney-General’s Department website.