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Monday, April 10, 2006

New report highlights need for review of privacy laws

Yet another report, this time from the Productivity Commission, points out the overlap and lack of consistency in Australia’s privacy laws. The Report of the Task Force on Reducing the Regulatory Burdens on Business – Rethinking Regulation contains 178 recommendations. The Federal Government announced a response to about half the recommendations last Friday with a comprehensive response to follow in July.

One of the yet to be addressed recommendations is the call for a comprehensive review of privacy laws. The report (pages 53 and following) says that submissions received from business identified “the pervasive nature of privacy requirements as an important contributor to the cumulative regulatory burden it faces”. The specific issues raised included national consistency, consistency with other Australian Government legislation; consistency between Government and business privacy requirements and sharing data.

Recommendation is for a comprehensive, independent public review of privacy laws with particular focus on business compliance costs.

The Federal Attorney General announced in February 2006 that he had referred Australia’s privacy laws to the Australian Law Reform Commission for review and report by March 2008

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