New laws to protect personal information of Western Australians

  • Government introduces new legislation to secure Western Australians’ personal information
  • Appointment of Information Commissioner, Privacy Deputy Commissioner and continuation of the Freedom of Information Commissioner as Information Access Deputy Commissioner to safeguard privacy of individuals
  • Introduction of breach scheme to ensure public is kept informed of any incidents

The Cook Government will introduce new laws to ensure the strong protection and safe handling of Western Australians’ personal information held by Government.

The Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing Bill 2024 (PRIS Bill) will modernise and strengthen privacy protections for Western Australians and enable the safe and secure sharing of information across Government and with trusted external entities.

This Australian-first legislation combines essential privacy protections and a consistent information sharing framework into a single Bill. The information sharing capability is built on top of robust privacy protections to deliver the right balance between protecting personal information and the safe flow of Government information in order to deliver significant community benefits.

The PRIS Bill introduces new privacy principles to guide WA’s public sector agencies on approved systems and processes to handle personal information, providing assurance to Western Australians that the Cook Government is managing their personal information responsibly and securely.

This PRIS Bill includes a scheme for mandatory reporting of “notifiable information breaches” to the Information Commissioner and affected individuals to ensure Western Australians are kept well informed of any serious breaches involving their personal information.

Under the legislation, Western Australians will be provided with clear and consistent pathways on the appropriate action to take if they have concerns surrounding the handling of their personal information by a Government agency.

In addition, the Government will also be introducing the Information Commissioner Bill 2024 (IC Bill) to establish and make provision for the office of Information Commissioner, Information Access Deputy Commissioner and Privacy Deputy Commissioner. The new Information Commissioner and Privacy Deputy Commissioner will be equipped with robust powers to consider and resolve privacy complaints.

The new laws introduce a best practice approach to facilitate responsible information sharing across Government and with trusted external entities such as Western Australia’s world-class health researchers, for permitted purposes in the public interest.

The Bill will allow the State to work more easily and quickly with other jurisdictions on important issues such as family and domestic violence.

A Chief Data Officer will be established to lead and develop public sector capability for responsible information sharing. The Chief Data Officer will promote a culture of transparency, accountability and safe use of Government information.

Extensive consultation was undertaken with stakeholders, including community groups, subject matter experts and the public sector to ensure the new laws are fit for purpose.

For more information about the Bill, visit

As stated by Innovation and the Digital Economy Minister Stephen Dawson:

“As our digital world continues to evolve at such a rapid pace, the Cook Government is taking important legislative steps to ensure Western Australians’ personal information is protected.

“As custodians of these valuable data sets, we also have a responsibility to ensure they are used to make better decisions, deliver seamless public services and drive innovation for public benefit.

“The proposed Privacy and Responsible Information Sharing legislation is designed to support WA’s digital future and create a framework of accountability.

“It enables modern digital government services for our community in a safe, privacy-preserving environment.

“Solving complex social, economic and health issues require us all to work together and share information in a safe and secure manner.”

As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:

“The Cook Government is well aware that the protection of their private information is a significant concern for Western Australians.

“With recent high-profile breaches in the private sector compromising sensitive information about our community, our Government is more committed than ever to ensure that information we hold is well protected.”

/Public Release. View in full here.