Privacy and personal information

The Data Availability and Transparency Bill (DAT Bill) has been developed using a ‘privacy-by-design’ approach, which means that data privacy and security has been considered at every stage of the development of the legislation.

In line with feedback during our consultation period, organisations will not be able to use the Data Availability and Transparency Act scheme to request data for:

  • enforcement-related purposes, such as law enforcement investigations and operations
  • activities that could jeopardise national security, such as the prevention or commission of terrorism and espionage.

If a data custodian, who is a federal government agency, chooses to share data that contains personal information, the data custodian must seek consent from those the personal information is about unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so.

The ‘unreasonable or impracticable’ language is drawn from the Privacy Act – it is about objectively considering what is reasonable and viable given the circumstances of the project.

If the data custodian decides to seek consent, the standard of consent is that set by the Privacy Act: consent must be current and specific to the project, and voluntarily given by someone who is properly informed and capable of consenting.

Privacy legislation and policies

The DAT Bill will operate alongside existing requirements for the collection, storage, integration and management of data, including the:

  • Privacy Act 1988, including the notifiable data breaches scheme for personal information and the Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code 2017 issued by the Information Commissioner.
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982.
  • Archives Act 1983 and National Archives of Australia information management standards.
  • Protective Security Policy Framework requirements relating to the release of classified information.
Privacy regulators

The DAT Bill supports co-operation between the National Data Commissioner and privacy regulators.

The DAT Bill is currently before the Australian Parliament.

A copy of the DAT Bill is available on the Australian Parliament House website.

You will also find copies of:

  • the DAT Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum
  • the Minister for Government Services’ Second Reading Speech.