Australian telecommunications industry body, Communications Alliance, has welcomed the passing by Parliament of the privacy amendment (enhancing privacy protection) bill 2012 , which is due to come into effect in March 2014.
The bill amends the Privacy Act 1988 in response to the Australian Law reform commission’s report in relation to Australian privacy law and practice.
The reforms introduce a number of changes including changes to credit reporting laws, to privacy principles where the one set of principles will now apply to Australian Government agencies and the private sector, and to the powers of the privacy commissioner.
The current privacy principles for the public and private sectors will be replaced with a single set of principles called the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).
It will implement a comprehensive reporting system, provide codes of practice under the APPs, provide a credit reporting code.
The bill also enhances the power of the information commissioner to resolve complaints, conduct investigations, promote compliance with privacy obligations, as well as recognise and encourage the use of external dispute resolution services.