29 May 2018


The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has awarded $5,000 compensation under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) for a breach by WorkCover Pty Ltd of the state's Information Privacy Principles.

In PB v WorkCover Pty Ltd (2018] QCAT 138 WorkCover conceded that it breached IPPs 1, 3 and 11 regarding the collection and disclosure of PB’s medical records in relation to a workers’ compensation claim. QCAT stated that 'WorkCover made a litany of errors in the course of processing his claim. Many of these errors were trivial, although some had more serious consequences'. QCAT concluded that there had also been breaches of IPPs 2 and 4. It ordered WorkCover to pay $5,000 to the complainant. In the event that WorkCover holds any of the original medical records it was return them to the respective medical practices.

QCAT characterised WorkCover’s breaches as ‘careless rather than malicious’.

In relation to costs QCAT states
I am not prepared to order WorkCover to reimburse PB for his expenses. The manner in which the proceeding has been run before the Tribunal has stemmed in large measure from the extravagant and exorbitant compensation claim made by PB. PB initially claimed compensation in the vicinity of $4 million, notwithstanding the statutory maximum of $100,000 clearly set out in s 178(a)(v). Had PB applied an element of sobriety to his claim, or at least claimed compensation within the statutory limit, it is likely that he and WorkCover would have been spared considerable expense in the conduct of the proceeding.
QCAT notes that this is the second case in the Queensland privacy jurisdiction with an award of financial compensation by QCAT. In RM v Queensland Police Service, QCAT described the Service’s breach as having been ‘careless rather than malicious’. It ordered compensation of $5,000.