The Federal Government has made significant changes to the Australian Privacy Act. These changes took effect from 12 March 2014.
New Australian Privacy Principles
The National Privacy Principles and the Information Privacy Principles have been replaced with new Australian Privacy Principles that regulate the handling of personal information by private sector organisations and Federal government agencies. Some of the key changes in the Australian Privacy Principles include:
- a new principle that deals with use and disclosure of personal information for direct marketing purposes;
- new information that must be included in privacy policies and collection statements; and
- a new principle that deals with cross-border disclosure of personal information.
Changes to credit reporting
There are also significant changes to the credit reporting provisions of the Privacy Act. These changes will allow credit providers to access more comprehensive information about the credit worthiness of individuals. This means credit providers can assess more accurately an individual’s ability to repay a loan. The changes also include strict rules around what information in credit reports can be used for, and who it can be shared with. A new Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code contains additional obligations for credit providers and credit reporting bodies and is available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.
As a result of the credit reporting changes, we have created a new Credit Reporting Policy. Our Credit Reporting Policy is available at www.westpac.com.au/privacy/credit-reporting or by calling 132 032.
Go to creditsmart.org.au/introduction-to-credit-reporting to read more about the changes to the credit reporting provisions of the Privacy Act.
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will continue to be the regulator for the Privacy Act. They have more information about the privacy reforms on the OAIC website.