COVIDSAFE APP – Privacy Act Changes

On the 14th May 2020, the Federal Parliament passed a range of amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to facilitate the operation of the CovidSafe App (“the App”). These changes related to the collection of the personal information provided when people downloaded the App and protecting the usage and storage of this personal information.

For employers a number of provisions were inserted to regulate the ability of an employer to require staff to download the App or indeed in the interaction which Employers may have with third parties who may attend upon an Employers premises. The new Section 94H of the Privacy Act provides that a person commits and offence under the Privacy Act if they require another person to:

  • Download COVIDSafe to a communication device; or
  • Have COVIDSafe in operation on a communication device; or
  • Consent to uploading COVID App data from a communication device to the National COVIDSafe Data Store.

The penalties for committing any of these offences is Five (5) years imprisonment, or a fine of $63,000, or both.

In addition, the legislative amendments prescribe that a person commits an offence if a person:

  • Refuses to enter into, or continue, a contract or arrangement with another person (including a contract of employment); or
  • Takes adverse action (within the meaning of the Fair Work Act 2009) against another person; or
  • Refuses to allow another person to enter premises that are otherwise accessible to the public, or premises that the other person has a right to enter; or
  • Refuses to receive goods or services from another person, or insists on providing less monetary consideration for the goods or services; orRefuses to provide goods or services to another person, or insists on receiving more monetary consideration for the goods or services;

on the grounds that or which may include the ground that the other person has not downloaded COVIDSafe to a communication device or does not have COVIDSafe in operation on a communication device.

The penalties for committing an offence under these provisions is also Five (5) years imprisonment, or a $63,000 fine, or both.

If any Member has a query as to the operation of these new provisions, please contact the MTA NSW Employment Relations Team on

P: 02 9016 9000 or
E: [email protected]

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