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Thursday, March 29, 2007

WA to join information privacy club

The Western Australian Attorney General yesterday introduced into Parliament the Information Privacy Bill 2007. Information Privacy Bill 2007 and Explanatory Memoranda

Debate was adjourned after the Minister's Second Reading speech.

The legislation will apply to public sector organisations in the handling of personal information and public and private sector organisations in the provision of a health service or the handling of health information.

It's fairly stock standard stuff along the lines of existing Federal, Victorian, NSW, Tasmanian and territory legislation with some improvements here and there. Its far more straightforward than some, and sensibly incorporates health matters, avoiding the crazy situation in NSW and Victoria with their separate health privacy acts.

Private sector organisations will still face the problem of the need to comply with the Federal Privacy and state privacy laws regarding health matters. And as both the Federal and NSW Governments have sent their privacy laws off for review by respective law reform commissions, it's not surprising that a WA Bill based on these models includes many provisions that have given rise to confusion, complexity and uncertainty in other jurisdictions.

As the legislation includes a two year transition, those Law Reform Commission reports will be on the table before the WA Act bites, so there will be plenty of time for further reflection.

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