Privacy Law

Australian Privacy Principle 12 — Access to Personal Information


12.1 An organisation must, on request by the individual whose information it holds, give the individual access to that information. Exceptions exists that allow access to be denied. There are no requirements as to the format or formalities of a request.


Note: like all other APP’s this applies to government bodies (known as ‘agencies’ in the Act), although the exceptions are different. The obligation to grant access to personal information is separate from obligations under Freedom of Information law.


Exception to access — organisations

12.3 An organisation is not required to give the individual access to the personal information if:

  • it reasonably believes that giving access would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any person, or the general public, or

  • giving access would have risk the privacy of other individuals, or

  • the request for access is very clearly frivolous or vexatious, or

  • the information relates to existing or reasonably anticipated legal proceedings between the organisation and the individual, and would not be accessible through formal document discovery (such as if the given record is irrelevant to the topic of given proceedings), or...




Dealing with requests for access

12.4 An organisation must respond to the request for access to the personal information within a reasonable period, and in the manner requested by the individual, if it is reasonable and practicable to do so.


Other means of access



Access charges

12.8 An organisation can charge for giving an individual access to the information it holds about them, but the charge must not be excessive....




Refusal to give access

12.9 If an organisation refuses to give access to information because of subclause 12.3, or to give access in the manner requested by the individual, it must give a written notice that sets out:...




Written by Andrew Pingree. All copyright, 2014-2016 vests in Civilaco Pty Ltd.

Commercial Intelligence - investigative solutions for Geleong, Melbourne and western Victoria
Australian Legal Education - training in law basics for small business