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Part 4—Protection of information

Part 4 Protection of information

Division 1 Simplified outline

20   Simplified outline of this Part

Current and former entrusted persons may commit an offence if they disclose or record certain information connected with the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS.

Basically, entrusted persons are the following:

       (a)     persons who work for the Department;

      (b)     contractors (and their officers and employees) engaged to provide services to the Department in connection with the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS.

There are exceptions for disclosure or recording authorised by a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory. The exceptions include disclosure or recording:

       (a)     for the purpose of this Act; or

      (b)     in exercising powers, or performing duties, relating to the interoperability hub or NDLFRS; or

       (c)     for lessening or preventing a serious and imminent threat to human life or health; or

      (d)     relating to a corruption issue; or

       (e)     with the consent of the person to whom the information disclosed or recorded relates.

Also, entrusted persons cannot be required to disclose certain information connected with the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS to a court or tribunal, except for the purposes of this Act or the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 .

Division 2 Limits on recording and disclosure

21   Limits on recording and disclosure by entrusted persons

Offence

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person is, or has been, an entrusted person; and

                     (b)  the person has obtained protected information in his or her capacity as an entrusted person; and

                     (c)  the person:

                              (i)  makes a record of the information; or

                             (ii)  discloses the information to another person.

Note:          The fault element for the physical elements in paragraphs (a) and (b) is recklessness: see section 5.6 of the Criminal Code .

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years.

Exceptions

             (2)  Each of the following is an exception to the prohibition in subsection (1):

                     (a)  the conduct is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  the conduct is in compliance with a requirement under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2): see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code .

Restriction on capacity of courts etc. to require disclosure of protected information or production of documents

             (3)  Except where it is necessary to do so for the purposes of giving effect to this Act or the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 , or a legislative instrument under this Act or that Act, an entrusted person is not to be required to disclose protected information, or produce a document containing protected information, to:

                     (a)  a court; or

                     (b)  a tribunal, authority or person that has the power to require the answering of questions or the production of documents.

Definitions of entrusted person and protected information

             (4)  In this Act:

entrusted person means:

                     (a)  the Secretary of the Department; or

                     (b)  an APS employee in the Department; or

                     (c)  a person who is:

                              (i)  an employee of an Agency (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999 ); or

                             (ii)  an officer or employee of a State or Territory; or

                            (iii)  an officer or employee of an authority of the Commonwealth or of an authority of a State or Territory; or

                            (iv)  an officer or employee of the government of a foreign country, an officer or employee of an authority of a foreign country or an officer or employee of a public international organisation (within the meaning of section 70.1 of the Criminal Code );

                            and whose services are made available to the Department; or

                     (d)  a contractor engaged to provide services to the Department in connection with the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS (whether the contractor is engaged directly by the Commonwealth or as a subcontractor); or

                     (e)  an officer or employee of such a contractor whose duties relate wholly or partly to the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS.

protected information means any of the following:

                     (a)  identification information that was obtained by a person, in the person’s capacity as an entrusted person, from:

                              (i)  an electronic communication to or from either the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS; or

                             (ii)  the NDLFRS;

                     (b)  information about either of the following:

                              (i)  the making, content or addressing of an electronic communication made to or from either the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS;

                             (ii)  identification information relating to a particular individual held in, or generated using, the NDLFRS;

                            that was obtained by a person, in the person’s capacity as an entrusted person;

                     (c)  information that enables access to the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS and was obtained by a person, in the person’s capacity as an entrusted person.

Division 3 Authorised recording and disclosure by entrusted persons

22   Exercising powers, or performing functions or duties, as an entrusted person

                   An entrusted person may make a record of or disclose protected information if the record is made, or the information is disclosed:

                     (a)  for the purposes of this Act; or

                     (b)  in the course of exercising powers, or performing functions or duties, relating wholly or partly to the interoperability hub or the NDLFRS.

23   Disclosure to lessen or prevent threat to life or health

             (1)  An entrusted person may disclose protected information if:

                     (a)  the entrusted person reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of an individual; and

                     (b)  the disclosure is for the purpose of lessening or preventing that threat.

             (2)  An entrusted person may make a record of protected information for the purpose of disclosing the protected information under subsection (1).

24   Disclosure relating to corruption issue

             (1)  An entrusted person may disclose protected information to the Integrity Commissioner:

                     (a)  for the purpose of referring an allegation, or information, that raises a corruption issue (within the meaning of the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 ); or

                     (b)  for the purpose of notifying a corruption issue under that Act; or

                     (c)  for the purpose of an investigation of a corruption issue under that Act.

             (2)  An entrusted person may make a record of protected information for the purpose of disclosing the protected information under subsection (1).

             (3)  This section does not limit the effect of subsection 21(2) or (3) in connection with the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 .

25   Disclosure with consent

                   An entrusted person may make a record of or disclose protected information that relates to the affairs of a person if:

                     (a)  the person has consented to the recording or disclosure; and

                     (b)  the recording or disclosure is in accordance with that consent.