Protecting Privacy - Changes Ahead

Protecting Privacy – Changes Ahead

Joshua Cole, 6th December 2023

Last week, the CBAA participated in a media industry roundtable hosted by the Attorney-General’s department to consider the Australian Government’s proposals for major changes to the Privacy Act, several of which may affect community broadcasters.

This work follows a lengthy review aimed at modernising the legislation and meeting public expectations around the protection of personal information. Two of the proposals particularly affect community broadcasters:

  1. Removing the exemption for businesses under $3m: Businesses under $3m have not previously been required to comply with specific obligations around the handling of personal information. This proposed change will only happen after a detailed consultation and cost-benefit analysis, to which the CBAA will contribute.
  2. Changing the journalism exemption: Media organisations currently also have an exemption from privacy legislation for acts or practices which are undertaken “in the course of journalism” if the organisation is publicly committed to observe standards that deal with privacy. (Community broadcasters are protected through Code 3.5 of the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice). This exemption is aimed at balancing the public interest in freedom of expression and the public interest in safeguarding how personal information is handled.

Along with other media organisations, the CBAA has previously argued that the current journalism exemption is sufficient. While the government supports the existing exemption, it has proposed some changes. There was vigorous debate at the Roundtable as to why the proposed changes are not appropriate and further consultations are planned in the new year.

The CBAA will continue to contribute to these consultations to ensure that the needs of community broadcasters are considered as the new legislation is developed.

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This document provides details to support the position put forward at the National Press Club’s Press Freedom: On the Line event on 26 June 2019.


The CBAA, as the sector organisation representing the majority of community radio licensees, is responsible for coordinating the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice review. The review will continue in 2019.


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