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January 15 2014

1.7 Million Reasons to Prepare to Comply as the Privacy Law Reforms

Businesses that deal with an individual 's personal information in any way must take steps to deal with the new privacy amendments or risk penalties of up to $1.7 million for breaches by corporations and up to $340,000 for breaches by individuals. The amendments primarily apply to businesses that have an annual turnover of more than $3 million. The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) essentially rewrites the existing privacy laws. The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) replace the previous National Privacy Principles (for private entities) and Information Privacy Principles (for public entities). Under the new amendments, the Australian Information Commissioner has enhanced powers to resolve privacy issues, such as investigating privacy breaches on its own motion, accepting enforceable undertakings, seeking civil penalty orders, declaring compensation orders and conducting privacy performance assessments. The credit reporting provisions have also been comprehensively revised to expand the number of entities subject to the credit reporting provisions and include similar requirements to those in the APPs. Credit providers will also be able to access further information when assessing an individual 's credit worthiness. Most businesses that render invoices with deferred payment terms (more than seven days) will be subject to the new credit reporting provisions. The amendments will commence on 12 March 2014.