Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Bill 2009
I think Senator Xenophon understands that the government will be opposing this amendment. Although we all consider the issue to be an important one, it is a question of how you respond to this particular concern. I know it is a matter of community concern and it is an important issue. Consumer credit protection and the privacy of personal and financial information exercise the minds of us all. That is why the government has moved to strengthen the consumer protections surrounding consumer credit contracts. Protections for consumers’ privacy are provided through APRA’s prudential standards and by privacy laws which regulate the way in which information may be handled when transferred overseas.
The Senate would be aware that Senator Ludwig recently announced a range of reforms to the Privacy Act in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s privacy report, including stronger protections for cross-border data flows. Under the proposed reforms, agencies and businesses will remain accountable for personal information which is transferred overseas where certain protections cannot be guaranteed. So the government’s view is that the concerns are best addressed in these ways and we do not think it is appropriate to support Senator Xenophon’s amendment.