Victorians are protected by two main pieces of legislation that define privacy, personal information and health information and mandate how government agencies are required to manage this information:
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 - protects personal information held by Victorian government agencies, statutory bodies and local councils and some of the companies contracted to provide services to government, and applies to living persons.
More information: Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, Privacy and Data Protection or 1300 006 842.
- The Health Records Act 2001 - regulates privacy of health information handled by the public and private sector in Victoria and also deals with the privacy rights of deceased persons and their next of kin.
More information: Health Services Commissioner or 1300 582 113.
Exemptions to the Legislation
The Privacy and Data Protection Act does not apply to:
- Publicly available information including: a publication that is generally available, information kept within a library, art gallery or museum, a public record under the Public Records Act 1973, archives within the Copyright Act 1968
- Information kept on Public Registers, eg Building Permit Register, Domestic Animals Register, Register of Pecuniary Interests and Prescribed Matters Register
- Certain information may be given to Law Enforcement Agencies if it is believed necessary for the purposes of law enforcement functions or activities
- Personal information relating to deceased persons.
Within Council, the Health Records Act does not apply to:
- All points listed above except for the final point. The Health Records Act does not apply to deceased persons 30 years after their death.
- Health information can be accessed through the Freedom of Information Act
For further information on access to Health Records, please see Personal information and health records