Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3709 ..
identified 85 domestic travellers, with 79 of those having received an invoice, and a further group of 28 individuals that ACT Pathology was still reviewing, some of whom may have been domestic travellers. As I indicated yesterday, ACT Pathology is continuing to undertake this assessment. It will be reversing all invoices for testing if it related to domestic travel and issuing refunds to those who have already paid. That process was already underway yesterday.
Information Privacy Act—data security
MR CAIN: My question is for the Attorney-General: the Information Privacy Act 2014 defines “personal information” to include information about an identified individual or an individual who is reasonably identifiable—I emphasise that last phrase. The Australian Information Commissioner who is also the ACT Privacy Commissioner has issued Australian privacy principles guidelines that make it clear that “reasonably identifiable” includes situations where the information is publicly released, a reasonable member of the public who accesses that information would be able to identify the individual.
In the Canberra Times story today an ACT government spokesperson is quoted as saying that this information was de-identified, but the Canberra Times stated that people familiar with the workers compensation system in the ACT have said they could also easily link information to individuals they knew or had worked with. Minister, isn’t this information personal information given that the Canberra Times was able to identify individuals, and is it not correct that it has not been de-identified?
MR RATTENBURY: I welcome Mr Cain’s detailed knowledge of the privacy principles. I think his recollection of them is quite accurate—certainly from my recall. As the Special Minister of State has indicated, the government is taking this very seriously. Mr Cain is asking for legal advice–I do not think I can answer it on the spot. But I can say that the government is looking at this. This is why there is now a review process going on. We need to clearly determine whether the principles Mr Cain has cited have been breached. That is what the government is currently working on, as has been outlined by the minister in his previous answers to questions today.
MR CAIN: Minister, if the government does not even know what personal information is and does not know itself what is reasonably identifiable personal information, why should the community trust this government with its confidential and private information?
MR RATTENBURY: I reject the premise of the question. The government does know, and the government is now comparing the circumstances of this matter to privacy principles to make that assessment. That is what is occurring.
Mrs Jones interjecting—
MR RATTENBURY: Mr Cain and Mrs Jones obviously have their opinions, but we need to work through this in a carefully considered way because the government takes personal privacy very seriously. We have a range of both legislative and policy requirements, and that is why this matter is being taken very seriously, as the Special Minister of State has outlined.