There has been a range of recent legal developments that affect
Commonwealth decisionmakers. Further information on these
developments is available at www.sparke.com.au
With big data comes big privacy
Big data analytics has the potential to bring social and
economic benefits, but the entities that use them must be fully
aware of their privacy obligations under the Privacy Act. The OAIC
has released a consultation draft of its Guide to big data and
the Australian Privacy Principles to provide clear guidance in
Primarily, the Guide recommends entities consider whether
de-identified (non-personal) information can be used as part of
their big data activities and if they can embed bespoke, integrated
privacy practices across the organisation and in individual
projects and activities.
Legal services direction to affect timebarred child
abuse claims until 2019
Commonwealth agencies have been directed to refrain from
pleading a limitation period defence to claims brought by survivors
of child sexual abuse.
The Attorney-General's Direction further extends to
prohibiting Commonwealth agencies from opposing any application for
an extension of the limitation period for a time-barred child abuse
claim. However, and relevantly for agencies that are already
involved in these types of claims, the Direction does not apply to
any proceeding where a Court has already determined the limitation
issue—both in the context of a successful defence to a claim
based on the expiration of the limitation period or a failed
application for an extension of a limitation period in a child
The Commission has estimated there are more than 65,000
unreported claims of child sexual abuse across a range of
institutions within Australia. With the limitation period, in this
context, often proving the primary obstacle for a claimant to
overcome, the Direction of the Attorney-General may see an opening
of the flood gates of previously unreported claims against
Commonwealth agencies or claims previously made but not pressed
through the legal system.
Privacy Bill amendment will have to wait for the next
This isn't the first time the Commonwealth Government has
been unable to introduce and pass the proposed Privacy
Amendment (Notification of Serious Data Breaches) Bill 2015.
As a result, the mandatory breach notification scheme's future
will now depend upon the policy objectives of the next government
and its ability to progress the legislation through Parliament.
Following criticism from the industry and government agencies,
which focused on the scope and lack of clarity around reasonable
awareness and assessing harm, it could be a while before we see
this amendment enacted.
Recent updates to statutory benefits for Commonwealth
Statutory rates under the Safety, Rehabilitation and
Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) have been updated and are in
effect from 1 July 2016.
Sparke Helmore Lawyers has developed a permanent impairment and
non-economic loss calculator for the 2016/2017 financial year, to
help you calculate entitlements under s 24 and s 27 of the SRC
This decision has implications for Government authorities and corporations, and for private sector project proponents.
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