Review of privacy laws in Tasmania

In May 2023, it was announced that the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) will undertake an in-depth review of the State’s privacy laws. The review was initiated by the Honourable Meg Webb, Independent member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council in 2019.

It has long been a concern that Tasmania’s laws on privacy are outdated and fragmented, and the announcement of the review at this time is particularly pertinent given the recent potential data breach affecting the Tasmanian Government.

Key questions and concerns

The TLRI has released an issues paper, Review of Privacy Laws in Tasmania, which poses a range of questions in relation to Tasmania’s privacy laws to initiate discussions and guide responses.

The issues paper brings the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 (Tas) (PIP Act) under scrutiny, questioning whether there are gaps in its application to public sector agencies and organisations, and whether there should be additional obligations on Tasmanian Government agencies entering into contracts with private bodies to ensure that privacy obligations are able to be enforced against contractors.

Some of the other questions raised in the issues paper include:

  • Should the definition of ‘personal information’ be changed, and if so, should it be consistent with the definition in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), or with the definition of personal data in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation?
  • Should the Personal Information Protection Principles under the PIP Act be amended to make them consistent with the Australian Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act?
  • Does the complaints process under the PIP Act require amendment?
  • Should the PIP Act include a data breach notification requirement?
  • Are amendments and/or additions required to Tasmania’s laws on surveillance?
  • Should the Tasmanian Parliament enact new criminal offences or civil remedies for serious online interferences with privacy, as other Australian jurisdictions have done?
  • Should there be a fundamental right to privacy?

The TLRI invites feedback from the community, government and other stakeholders. Submissions are open until 11 July 2023. You can find the issues paper and submission template here.

The TLRI will consider this feedback and will publish a final report and recommendations later in the year.

What do you need to do?

The patchwork of State and Federal privacy laws can be difficult to navigate and understand and are also rapidly evolving. If you are unsure of your rights or obligations under legislation such as the PIP Act and the Privacy Act, feel free to get in touch with us using the details below.

You may also wish to make a submission in response to the issues paper, in which case we can help with any questions you have on the scope and application of existing privacy laws.

More information

If you have any queries or would like further information about this article, please contact:

Kathryn Speed
M: 0408 446 013

Published: 27 June 2023

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