Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing

Protecting and using information responsibly to deliver effective public services and community outcomes
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The WA Government provides a range of services and programs aimed at improving the quality of life for Western Australians. In order to deliver these, we collect and hold information about Western Australians.

To protect the personal information of Western Australians and facilitate responsible use and sharing of government information, the WA Government has introduced the Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing Bill to Parliament. 

The proposed privacy and responsible information sharing legislation will provide Western Australians with greater control over their personal information and improve the delivery of government services. This legislation will enable information to be shared within government for the right reasons and provide greater accountability and transparency about how government handles your personal information.

Alongside the Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing Bill is the proposed Information Commissioner Bill, the proposed legislation will establish new officeholders, the Information Commissioner, Privacy Deputy Commissioner, Information Access Deputy Commissioner and Chief Data Officer. The Information Commissioner and Privacy Deputy Commissioner will be independent statutory officeholders, reporting directly to Parliament and having responsibility for privacy matters in WA. The Chief Data Officer will promote a culture of transparency, accountability, and safe use for government information. 

Broadly, the proposed legislation introduces reforms that provide:

  1. guiding privacy principles and a framework to govern the collection, use, disclosure and security of personal information across the public sector;
  2. a mandatory information breach notification scheme, requiring agencies to notify the Information Commissioner and affected individuals of serious information breaches involving personal information;
  3. a statutory mechanism for WA public sector agencies to share information only when adhering to new stringent standards for risk assessment, decision making, governance and transparency; and
  4. a mechanism that supports Aboriginal data governance in WA, by requiring that Aboriginal people and communities are involved or consulted when government information that primarily affects Aboriginal people is shared. 

To learn more about the privacy and responsible information sharing reforms, please read our Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing Fact Sheet.

Your views are important

The Government recognises that privacy is important to all Western Australians and has undertaken extensive consultation to listen to peoples’ views on the best privacy and information sharing arrangements for WA.

In 2019 the WA Government held extensive consultation targeting the public, community groups community service organisations, health researchers, privacy experts, Aboriginal people and representative organisations and industry. Find out more on what we heard during our first consultation period in the Privacy and Responsible Information Consultation Summary Report.

A second consultation period was held, engaging a wide range of government agencies to finalise the privacy and responsible sharing model. This process was extended by the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now closed.

Thank you to all those who contributed via a formal submission, comments through our online portal or attending an information session. Your feedback is essential in helping us understand the WA community’s thoughts on privacy protection and information sharing within the public sector and authorised third parties.

Better outcomes for Western Australians

The Privacy and Responsible Information sharing legislation will provide a range of benefits across Western Australia.  

You will benefit

Stronger privacy protections for personal and sensitive information will ensure your information is safe and secured. These protections will clarify how government collects, stores, uses and shares (or does not share) your information, to inform decisions and deliver services. The legislation will also provide pathways for complaints and restitution if your personal privacy has been breached by a WA government organisation.

The community will benefit

The WA community will benefit from safe and secure data sharing across the public sector, informing better planning and decisions, and improving community outcomes. Information is one of government’s most valuable assets. Safe and secure data sharing has the ability to drive innovation, enhance decisions and allow prioritisation of resource allocation.

Western Australia will benefit

Across Western Australia, government agencies, researchers and community organisations will experience streamlined pathways to access government information. These pathways will be facilitated by privacy principles and frameworks consistently applied across government, supporting analysis and insights to address complex economic, environmental or community issues, creating a safer and fairer society for all.

The Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing legislation is being informed by best practices drawn from across Australia and around the world, to balance the needs and expectations of the WA community and public sector. The new legislation will improve quality of life for Western Australians and increase transparency and accountability in government decision making.