The new Privacy Act changes are due to come in to effect in December 2020.

The changes include allowing the Human Rights Review Tribunal to make awards of up to $350,000 to each individual when a large number of people have been impacted by a privacy breach.

For organisations handling personal information this should serve as a clear warning that privacy breaches are being taken far more seriously under the new law.

These changes will also introduce a privacy breach notification system, the ability for the Privacy Commissioner to issue compliance orders, and powers allowing the Commissioner to order agencies to release personal information.

The Bill also contains new criminal offences for destruction of requested information and misleading an agency in order to access someone else’s personal information. The penalty for committing these offences is a fine of up to $10,000.

 Additionally, the changes have clarified that liability for privacy breach notifications under the new scheme lies with the employer, not their employees.

It is vital that anyone handling personal information, whether they are an individual, charity, business or government department, understands their responsibilities. Failure to do so may result in significant penalties.

If there are concerns about compliance with the incoming privacy law changes, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At
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Alan Knowsley
Litigation Lawyer