Information Commissioner welcomes new laws

December 4, 2023 - 12:49pm

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) welcomes the passing of the Information Privacy and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 (IPOLA Bill). The Bill was passed by Parliament on Wednesday, 29 November 2023, following extensive consultation.

The IPOLA Bill amends the Information Privacy Act 2009 and Right to Information Act, along with related provisions in other legislation, to improve transparency and accountability of Queensland government agencies and strengthen privacy protections available to individuals.

The key change will be the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification scheme which will apply to all Queensland government agencies. Queensland joins New South Wales as the only Australian states to legislate such a scheme. The Department of Justice and Attorney-General advised the Parliamentary Committee that it is anticipated that this scheme will commence on 1 July 2025 for most agencies, and a year later for local government.

Additional funding was allocated in the 2023-24 State budget to enable OIC to implement the reforms and support agencies with preparations and compliance.  Now that the Bill has passed, OIC is in the process of setting up a project team to get ready for the changes and develop the necessary resources, templates and training.

Other key changes made by this Bill include:

  • Greater consistency with the Commonwealth Privacy Act, including a single set of privacy principles
  • Reforms to the right to information framework to improve its application
  • Amendments to support a proactive administrative scheme for the release of Cabinet documents
  • Amendments to the Criminal Code to increase the maximum penalty for conduct relating to the misuse of restricted computers.

The IPOLA Bill responds to a range of reviews and recommendations made by several reports ranging back to 2017, including the 2017 strategic review of OIC, two key reports of the Crime and Corruption Commission, and the Coaldrake review of culture and accountability in the Queensland public sector.

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