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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 193


(Questions No. 556 and 594)

Ms Butler asked the Minister for Social Services, in writing, on 9 November 2016 and 10 November 2016:

Can the Government provide assurances that the privacy of 1800RESPECT callers will be protected when Medibank Health Solutions, which is conducting the recruitment process for the 'first responder' service, has had a past privacy breach concerning eye test records and contact details of hundreds of military personnel, and that new staff can work from home.

Mr Porter: The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The privacy of callers will be protected.

Medibank Health Solutions' (MHS) privacy policy for the release of client information and the protection of privacy is governed by current Commonwealth legislation (the Privacy Act 1988) and the Australian Privacy Principles, which are contained in the Privacy Act. Additionally, MHS complies with both state and Australian legislation on child protection, sexual assault and domestic and family violence with respect to the release of information about a client.

While MHS staff are able to work from home, there are strict policies in place to ensure the privacy of all calls and data.

The implementation of the first response triage model has been successful. The percentage of abandoned calls has reduced from 44 per cent in 2015-16 to an average of 5.5 per cent since implementation. The 1800RESPECT service is also answering at least 80 per cent of calls within 20 seconds. This means women contacting the service are now having their calls answered and receiving the support they need, when they need it.