Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
On 1 July 1994 amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) took effect to cover agencies of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government Service, pending the introduction of privacy legislation in the Territory. The amendments were necessitated by the final stage of transition to self-government in the ACT involving the separation of the ACT public service from the Commonwealth service. Section 23 and Sched 3 of the Australian Capital Territory Government Service Consequential Provisions) Act 1994 contain the relevant amendments.
As well as continuing the application of the Privacy Act, the amendments put beyond doubt that the Act applies, with limited exceptions, to all territory agencies, including statutory officers, bodies established by ACT enactments and the ACT courts. The definition of 'agency' in the Privacy Act now includes 'ACT agencies' which has the same meaning as in the ACT Freedom of Information Act 1989.
Other amendments ensure that the operation of all aspects of the Privacy Act in respect of the ACT parallel exactly their application to the Commonwealth. For instance, they provide for ACT Ministers to request the Privacy Commissioner to provide advice, for transfer of complaints to an appropriate ACT authority, for reports by the Privacy Commissioner to the Territory Ministers, and for payment by the ACT Government of any compensation determined by the Privacy Commissioner.
Administrative and financial arrangements have been made between the Privacy Commissioner and the ACT Government to give effect to the revised regime.