Dreyfus hints that Australian privacy reforms are coming soon

2023 is shaping up to be a year of significant change for privacy law in Australia.

Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed in a tweet posted on 20 December 2022 that the Privacy Act Review commissioned under the Coalition government has been completed and a final report received by his department. 

The review considered whether current laws effectively protect personal information. 

Commenting that Australia’s privacy laws are “out of date and not fit-for-purpose in our digital age”, Dreyfus hinted that 2023 will see an “overhaul” of the Privacy Act. 

We know from previous consultations released by the government that the new privacy regime could include some significant changes such as: 

  • broadening the definition of personal information;
  • removing exemptions such as the employee records exemption;
  • changing what needs to be included in an organisation’s privacy policy; 
  • changing what needs to be provided to individuals in a collection notice; 
  • imposing a fair and reasonable requirement for handling personal information; 
  • changing the rules for cross-border flows of data; and 
  • increasing individual rights, such as a right of erasure, a direct right of action, and a tort of privacy.

These changes would see us move closer to a higher standard of privacy, possibly inspired by the EU’s GDPR.

2023 is shaping up to be a year of significant change for privacy in Australia. We are watching the reform process with great interest and will release updates as the review progresses and as new legislation is proposed.

For advice regarding privacy and data requirements, please contact our team of legal experts.

(Thanks to Eleanor Clifton-Bligh, Summer clerk, for assistance in drafting this article).

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