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Privacy (South Australian Government)

There is currently no legislation in South Australia creating a general right of privacy although there is a Cabinet Administrative Instruction (Information Privacy Principles Instruction) which came into operation on 1 July 1989 and has been re-issued a number of times, including on 6 February 2017. The instruction is not law but represents policy developed at the highest level of State Government and is binding on the public sector. The instruction is similar to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) in that it protects against information misuse. Unlike the Commonwealth Act, the instruction does not allow enforcement of the instruction in a court of law. All references in this part are to this instruction unless stated otherwise.

The privacy instruction is designed to protect a person's privacy by ensuring that certain measures are fulfilled when information is:

  • collected
  • stored
  • used
  • disclosed

In general terms the instruction requires that personal information should not be collected unlawfully or unfairly. People should be told the purpose of collecting the information. An agency should not collect information that is inaccurate, irrelevant or excessively personal. An agency must take reasonable steps to ensure that information is securely stored and not misused. Once information is held by an agency, it must not be used except for a relevant purpose.

Perhaps the most important provision in the instruction prohibits an agency from disclosing personal information about a person to anyone else except where specific conditions have been satisfied. One such condition is when the person consents. Another, is that the disclosure is required to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the life or health of some person.

Most of the principles in the instruction have a retrospective effect and apply to information collected before 1 July 1989 when the instruction came into operation.

Privacy (South Australian Government)  :  Last Revised: Thu Sep 5th 2019
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.