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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 October 2010) . . Page.. 5098 ..


policy how the surveillance will be conducted, they must conduct the surveillance in accordance with the notice, including limiting the use of surveillance records to purposes set out in the notice. This prevents employers from installing cameras, tracking devices or monitoring software under the guise of security and then using it for performance management.

Based upon the experience of the operation of similar legislation in New South Wales, the vast majority of surveillance will be able to continue, provided that employers comply with notification requirements.

The bill defines three types of surveillance—optical, data and tracking—consistent with the definitions in the Crimes (Surveillance Devices) Act passed earlier this year and places some specific requirements for each type of surveillance.

For camera surveillance, employers will be required to ensure that the camera itself is visible and that a sign on the entrance to the workplace notifies workers that they may be subject to surveillance. For data surveillance, the bill requires that employers develop a policy and operate data surveillance programs consistently with that policy and take steps to ensure that employees are aware of the policy. Employers will also be required to notify employees via stopped delivery notices when a program prevents delivery of a communication. For tracking surveillance, employers will be required to label that an object or vehicle is being tracked.

This bill provides for offences with relatively minor penalties for failure to comply with notification requirements.

In the event that an employer suspects that unlawful activity is taking place in the workplace and that covert surveillance is required to detect and prevent it, the bill provides a mechanism for an employer to apply to the Magistrates Court for an authority for an independent person to conduct covert surveillance in the workplace.

The bill provides a clear set of guidelines for the Magistrates Court to consider when deciding whether to grant a covert surveillance authority, including whether covert surveillance is the most appropriate means of detecting unlawful activity and consideration of the privacy of other employees.

Recognising that covert surveillance substantially impinges upon the privacy of employees, the bill provides for substantial limitations on the usage of covert surveillance records, such as that employers are only able to receive surveillance records that relate to unlawful activity. The bill provides for strong penalties for distribution and use of covert surveillance records outside the limitations set by the covert surveillance authority.

The bill sets out a number of locations in the workplace where surveillance is prohibited, where common sense dictates that surveillance is highly inappropriate, including toilets, change rooms, prayer rooms and parenting rooms.

We believe that the workplace is a place which needs to foster trust between employers and employees. We recognise the need for employers to protect their


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