Solutions to Council operational challenges from the Information Privacy Act 2009
After a meeting between the Minister for Local Government, the Honourable Desley Boyle and the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA), the Minister requested an inter-departmental meeting with the Information Commissioner’s Office to address the implications of the new privacy legislation on the Local Government sector.
A meeting was recently held between staff from the Office of Local Government, the LGMA, the Local Government Association Queensland (LGAQ), the Information Commissioner and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
Issues raised in the meeting were examples where personal information was not able to be released on the internet, or to the public at large, because of the commencement of the new Information Privacy Act 2009. This has meant Councils have been cautious to continue their duties when it involves the disclosure of personal information.
Together with Councils, solutions have been found to allow Councils to continue to operate effectively while fulfilling their obligations under privacy legislation.
An amendment has been made to the Local Government (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010 to specifically enable a land record to be made ‘accessible’ electronically as well as in hard copy form at a Council office.
An amendment to the Local Government (Operations) Regulation 2010 has been made to clarify that, with the advent of the Information Privacy Act 2009, the publishing of full agendas before a Council meeting is an acceptable Council process.
The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 has been amended to allow the publication of materials relating to development applications on Council websites.
The remaining operational issues are being addressed by the Office of the Information Commissioner through the production of information sheets and template policies to assist Councils in meeting new privacy legislation requirements.
These resources are being developed in consultation with the LGMA and the LGAQ.