22 March 2014


The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has made two Determinations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), which permit activity that would otherwise be in breach of that statute.

The OAIC states that
These determinations were made urgently on request by ANZ Bank, just prior to the privacy reforms commencing. A comprehensive consultation process will be initiated in the coming months to determine whether the temporary determinations should be made into a longer term determination or repealed. This consultation will allow all stakeholders to provide submissions, and if necessary a conference will be called under section 76 of the Privacy Act.
The Determinations extend beyond the ANZ Bank - ie covering the industry rather than the specific enterprise.

They are
  • Privacy (International Money Transfers) Temporary Public Interest Determination 2014 (No. 1) - here
  • Privacy (International Money Transfers) Generalising Determination 2014 (No. 1)  - here
The OAIC states that
to permit Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (Applicant) and other authorised-deposit taking institutions within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959 (ADIs) to disclose the personal information of a beneficiary of an international money transfer (IMT) to an overseas financial institution when processing an IMT without breaching the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), following the commencement of the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012.
Specifically, these determinations will ensure that the Applicant and other ADIs do not breach APP 8.1 when disclosing the beneficiary’s personal information to the overseas financial institution, and are not held to breach another APP (other than APP 1) as a result of being held accountable for an act or practice of the overseas financial institution in relation to that information (in accordance with subsection 16C(2)).
Scrutiny of Privacy Commissioner documentation obtained under the Freedom of Information Act indicates that in least one instance the Determination appears to have been jointly written by the PC/OAIC and the ostensible applicant, and that the application was solicited by the Commissioner. That perhaps explains the "made urgently on request" wording, with the OAIC having had its hands full over the past six months and perhaps lacking a strong sense of implications.