THE AUSTRALIAN Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is to commence a review of secrecy and confidentiality legislation, Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced last week.
The aim of the review will be to identify options for simplifying and consolidating the secrecy and confidentiality legislative regime which McClelland described as “overly complex”. According to McClelland, there are more than 100 hundred secrecy and confidentiality provisions throughout various pieces of Commonwealth legislation.
In particular, McClelland noted the need for reforms that will allow for information sharing between governments, and between the government and the private sector, without compromising protection of sensitive government information.
“Removing barriers to the sharing of information has been identified as an important step to achieving a whole-of-government approach to national security,” he said. “Equally we need strong secrecy laws in place to ensure that sensitive Commonwealth information remains protected from unauthorised disclosure if it is passed to other agencies.”
The ALRC is to provide a final report to McClelland by 31 October 2009.