Terms of reference
On 24 June 2010, the Senate agreed to the following:
(1) That the following matter be referred to the Finance
and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 1
Exposure drafts of
Australian privacy amendment legislation.
(2) That, in undertaking this inquiry the committee may
consider the exposure draft of the Australian Privacy Principles and the draft
companion guides on the Australian privacy reforms, and any other relevant documents
tabled in the Senate or presented to the President by a senator when the Senate
is not sitting.
Following the commencement of the 43rd Parliament, the Senate
agreed to the committee's recommendation that the inquiry be re-adopted with a
reporting date of 1 July 2011. The reporting date was subsequently
extended to 30 September 2011, and then further extended to 6 October 2011.
Conduct of the inquiry
On the same day that the inquiry was referred to the committee, the
Australian Privacy Principles (APP) Exposure Draft and Companion Guide were
tabled in the Senate. The APP Exposure Draft is one of four parts of the first
stage response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) recommendations
for the reform of Australian privacy laws. The committee reported on the APP
Exposure Draft on 15 June 2011. The report is available on the committee's
The second part of the first stage response, the Credit Reporting Exposure
Draft, was received by the President of the Senate on 1 February 2011 and was tabled
in the Senate on 9 February 2011.
The committee advertised the inquiry into the Credit Reporting Exposure
Draft in The Australian and contacted a number of organisations and
individuals, inviting submissions to be lodged by 24 March 2011. The committee
received 37 public submissions and three confidential submissions.
The list of submissions is available at appendix 1.
The committee held a public hearing in Sydney on 16 May 2011. Details of
the public hearing are at appendix 2. The submissions, Hansard transcript of
evidence and answers to questions on notice may be accessed through the
committee's website at http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/fapa_ctte/foi_ic/index.htm.
The committee would like to thank all those who contributed to the
Consultation undertaken during the inquiry
During the course of the inquiry, Veda Advantage undertook further
consultation with the Australasian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) and a group
of consumer representatives – Consumer Credit Legal Centre, Australian Privacy
Foundation and Legal Aid Queensland. The consultations considered five key
matters which were highlighted during the inquiry:
- serious credit infringements;
- identity theft;
- hardship flags;
- complaints handling; and
- simplification of key definitions.
The outcomes of the consultations were provided to the committee for consideration
during its deliberations on the Credit Reporting Exposure Draft. The committee
also provided the outcomes to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
The committee would like to thank participants of the consultation
process for their contribution to the inquiry. The reform of the credit
reporting regime will have significant effects for consumers and industry
stakeholders and it is important that the most effective and efficient
regulatory regime is implemented.
Structure of the report
The report is structured as follows:
- chapter 2 of the report provides an overview of the ALRC's review
of credit reporting;
- chapter 3 canvasses general issues raised in relation to the Exposure
- chapter 4 discusses matters in relation to serious credit
infringement, identity theft and hardship flags, canvassed during the
consultations undertaken by industry and consumer representatives;
- chapter 5 discusses complaints handling, including the matters
raised during the consultation process;
- chapters 6, 7 and 8 discuss issues raised about specific provisions
in the Exposure Draft;
- chapter 9 discusses issues in relation to definitions and meanings
of terms; and
- chapter 10 presents a summary of the committee's conclusions.
A number of issues relating to particular provisions which were raised
in submissions but not addressed by the committee are listed in appendix 3.
On 1 November 2010 the Office of the Privacy Commissioner was integrated
into the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The submission from
the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in relation to the Australian Privacy Principles
Exposure Draft was received before this change took place. While the committee's
first report refers to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, this report
refers the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
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