Safeguarding data

We are committed to protecting the information that is provided by the public. The protections around Australians’ information will be enhanced by this legislation.

The security around data will be strengthened as we modernise our approach to sharing data, with appropriate safeguards and more transparency. The National Data Commissioner is working across government to implement and regulate this legislation to enhance services and protect the public.

Protecting your privacy

We are committed to delivering a framework that meets public expectations on privacy. In our view, there is no ‘set and forget’ approach to privacy, we will continue to review and ensure our privacy approach remains best practice and meets the Australian community’s expectations.

Under the legislation, where data is shared for policy, programs or research, researchers who use it will not have access to identifying information like your name or phone number.  

However, to improve government services, some of your information might need to be identifiable; so rather than having to tell multiple areas of government that you have moved house, you can tell us once your change of address.

The legislation will only authorise sharing for specific purposes.

Sharing data for compliance, national security or law enforcement purposes will not be enabled by this legislation. Agencies will need to use existing legislation available to them to undertake data sharing for these important activities.

Consistency with other legislation and policy

The legislation will operate alongside existing requirements for the collection, storage, integration and management of data.

The following safeguards will continue to apply, including:

  • Privacy Act 1988, including the notifiable data breaches scheme for personal information and the Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code 2017 issued by the Australian 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.
Working with experts

The National Data Commissioner will work in partnership with other regulators and experts in the system. 

The new Data Availability and Transparency legislation will operate alongside existing data protection schemes, and will contain provisions for co-operation between the National Data Commissioner and other relevant regulators.

The Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner and state and territory privacy regulators will continue to provide guidance and frameworks so that personal information shared under the data sharing system is handled in accordance with applicable privacy legislation. This reflects current best practice and arrangements between regulators.

Considering ethical implications

When it comes to sharing data ethically, it is about more than simply ‘doing the right thing’. It is about making sure there is a benefit to the Australian community, keeping data safe, and having transparent processes.

Ethical frameworks and guidelines will play an important role in decisions made about the sharing of data, as will impartial advice from experts.