The Australian government has announced that it will remove the Privacy Act exemption for small businesses, which means that any business with an annual turnover of less than $3 million will have to comply with the same privacy obligations as larger businesses.

This change is part of a broader reform of the Privacy Act, which aims to strengthen the protection of personal information and enhance consumer trust in the digital economy. The government has also proposed to introduce a mandatory data breach notification scheme, increase the penalties for privacy breaches, and give more powers to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

What does this mean for your business?

If you are a small business owner, you may be wondering how this change will affect you and what you need to do to prepare. Here are some key points to consider:

  • You will have to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which set out how you can collect, use, disclose, store and secure personal information. You will also have to provide a privacy policy and respond to requests from individuals to access or correct their personal information.
  • You will have to report any data breaches that are likely to result in serious harm to the individuals affected, such as identity theft, fraud or physical harm. You will have to notify the OAIC and the affected individuals as soon as possible after becoming aware of the breach.
  • You may face higher penalties if you breach the Privacy Act, such as fines of up to $10 million or 10% of your annual turnover, whichever is greater. You may also face compensation claims from individuals who suffer loss or damage as a result of your breach.
  • You may have to deal with more oversight from the OAIC, which will have enhanced powers to conduct investigations, audits and assessments of your privacy practices. The OAIC may also issue binding directions or injunctions to stop or prevent your breach.

How can ONGC help you?

At ONGC Systems, we understand that complying with the Privacy Act can be challenging and complex, especially for small businesses. That’s why we offer expert guidance and support to help you navigate the cyber security landscape and protect your data and reputation.

We can help you:

  • Conduct a risk assessment to identify and mitigate cyber risks in your business processes and systems
  • Develop and implement a data breach response plan that comply with the APPs and the Privacy Act
  • Provide training and awareness programs for your staff on how to handle personal information securely and responsibly
  • Monitor and manage your cyber security posture and respond to any incidents or threats
  • Provide ongoing advice and updates on the latest privacy laws and best practices

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact our team today and let us help you prepare for the Privacy Act changes.