Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 419..
MR STEFANIAK: Scrutiny report 2 contains the committee's comments on 10 bills and three government responses. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Health Records (Privacy and Access) Amendment Bill 2005
Ms Gallagher, on behalf of Mr Corbell, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.40): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
This amendment to the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 gives protection to the identity of persons making reports to Care and Protection Services under the Children and Young People Act 1999. The Children and Young People Act 1999 commenced operation in May 2000. Within the act there are sections addressing the confidentiality of information received by both mandatory and voluntary reporters under the act. The Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 commenced operation in February 1998. The intention of this legislation is to provide for the privacy and integrity of, and access to, personal health information.
Recently, consideration of the interaction between these two pieces of legislation has indicated that an agency's internal record of reports made under the Children and Young People Act 1999 can be provided to persons who make an application under the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997, because in most cases that document will be a health record. That has implications for all agencies, not just ACT Health. Records or parts of records held by ACT Health, the departments of Education and Training, Disability, Housing and Community Services, Justice and Community Services and non-government funded agencies, general practitioners and other allied health providers will fall within the definition of a health record.
In particular, an agency's record of a mandated or voluntary report to the chief executive under the Children and Young People Act 1999 will almost invariably be a health record for the purposes of this legislation. In short, when a reporter makes a report under either the voluntary or mandatory provisions of the Children and Young People Act 1999 and keeps a copy of the written report or notes of the action, those internal records may be available to a person when requested under the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997. The identification of a reporter and his or her information could place the child or young person, other adults, the reporter, and agency staff at risk.
This bill amends the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 to prohibit access to a health record, or part of a health record, if that record, or part of a record, identifies a person who made a report under either the voluntary or mandatory reporting provisions of the Children and Young People Act 1999, or if the record keeper is satisfied that the