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Effective from 21 December 2001 the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) had amendments made to it by the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (Cth). These amendments extended privacy laws to private sector organisations (including non-profit organisations).
Organisations must comply with the ten National Privacy Principles (NPPs) which relate to the collection, storage and disclosure of personal information. These principles aim to ensure that any personal information held by an organisation is done so fairly, lawfully and out of necessity.
In addition, any personal information held by an organisation should be accurate, complete and up-to-date and ample opportunity must be provided to individuals that wish access and update any information held about them.
The new provisions apply to organisations with an annual turnover greater than $3 million and all health service providers. The term 'organisation' includes individuals, body corporates, partnerships, unincorporated associations and trusts.
Sport and Recreation Tasmania encourages all organisations to strive to meet these requirements as a matter of good practice, regardless of whether or not the provisions apply to them.
Organisations are classified as health service providers if they provide health services to individuals and hold health information about those individuals, with the exception of employee records.
By applying the requirements of the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) organisations' information management practices and procedures for disclosing personal information will be sound.
The Australian Sports Commission has issued a guide to best privacy practices for sporting organisations which is available on http://catalogue.ausport.gov.au/ibp/privacyguide.asp and is a simple, step-by-step guide to assist organisations to comply with the requirements of the new provisions.
Gymnasiums are classified as health service providers because they assess, record, maintain and improve an individual's health; and may treat an individual's illness or disability through a rehabilitation program.
Gymnasiums also hold health information about their clients in relation to general health, disabilities, details of the service provided/or to be provided; and may hold information on the donation or intended donation of body parts, organs or body substances (i.e. emergency details).
The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 therefore applies to gymnasiums and organisations that perform similar functions.
The definitions of a health service provider and health information are provided in the Act, which is available on http://www.privacy.gov.au/.
For more information on the applicability of the new provisions contact the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner's Privacy Hotline on 1300 363 992 or seek legal advice.