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Government Agencies Could Share Personal Data In New Bill

Privacy advocates fear Coalition’s proposed data-sharing law is reminiscent of the recent debacle of robodebt and Services Australia.

Under a Coalition-proposed law Australians’ personal information could be accessed by government agencies and researchers without their consent.

In a speech at an Australian Financial Review conference, the former government services minister Stuart Robert said the rationale is to make accessing the information simple. “Simple and helpful, so a single mum with three kids only has to give her birth certificate details to government once to access childcare payments and an immunisation history,” he said.

The bill is aimed at making it easier for government agencies to share personally identifiable data and allow external organisations such as universities to access de-identified data.

The legislation, according to the AFR, covers “all data collected, created or held by the commonwealth, or on its behalf”.

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