Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by authority of the Minister for Land Transport

Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989

Australian Postal Corporation Regulations (Amendment)

Section 102 of the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of the Act.

Subsection 92(1) of the Act prohibits an employee of Australia Post from disclosing any fact or document relating to postal or telecommunications services provided, or to be provided, by Australia Post or the affairs or personal particulars (including any address) of another person that has come to the employee's knowledge or possession as a consequence of the person's employment with Australia Post.

Subsection 92(2) provides that the prohibition on disclosure does not apply where the disclosure of a fact or document is made by an employee in the performance of his or her duties as an employee, as a witness summonsed to give evidence, or to produce documents in a court of law, under the requirements of a law of the Commonwealth or in circumstances prescribed under paragraph 92(2)(d).

The Australian Postal Corporation Regulations (Amendment) extend the circumstances of disclosure to allow employees to disclose information to law enforcement bodies, or to disclose information relating to a person's affairs or personal particulars (including any address) in circumstances which are consistent with Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 11 which is contained in section 14 of the Privacy Act 1988.

Details of the amendments to the Australian Postal Corporation Regulations (the Regulations) are as follows:

Regulation 1 provides that the Regulations are amended as provided for in regulation 2.

Regulation 2 provides for the inclusion in the Regulations of new Part 4 - Disclosure of Facts and Documents which specifies those additional circumstances in which an Australia Post employee may disclose information.

New regulation 20 in Part 4 prescribes the circumstances of disclosure for the purposes of paragraph 92(2)(d) of the Act.

Paragraph 20(a) enables disclosure to an authorised officer or employee of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) in connection with the performance of ASIO's functions.

Paragraph 20(b) enables disclosure which is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law, a Commonwealth law imposing pecuniary penalty or for the protection of the public revenue. This provision is consistent with paragraph (1)(e) of IPP 11. Paragraph 20(b) will enable the details of the users of post office boxes who are using these boxes to avoid identification in, or in relation to, the commission of offences to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies.

Paragraph-20(c) enables disclosure of information relating to:

       the affairs or personal particulars of a person in circumstances where the person is reasonably likely to have been aware, or made aware, that information of that kind is usually disclosed in the circumstances; or

       the person has consented to the disclosure in the circumstances concerned; or

       the person who makes the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lesson a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person.

The circumstances of disclosure set out in paragraph 20(c) are consistent with those in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c) of IPP 11. Paragraph 20(c) will enable Australia Post to introduce a National Change of Address Service whereby, on the written election of a person, the person's new address is given to mailers in possession of the person's former address.

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