Information Handling Operational Guideline - Disclosing protected information in other circumstances

9. Disclosing protected information in other circumstances

The NDIS Act also contains other provisions that specifically deal with the disclosure of protected information. The NDIS Act authorises the disclosure of protected information to people outside the NDIA in the following circumstances:

9.1 Disclosure in the public interest

The NDIA may disclose protected information when it certifies that the disclosure is necessary in the public interest to do so in a particular case or class of cases (section 66(1)(a)).

Note, all requests for disclosures in the public interest are to be referred to the Privacy Contact Officer. NDIA staff should also refer to the Procedures for dealing with Public Interest Disclosures.

The Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules set out guidance with respect to disclosure that is necessary in the public interest. However, the guidance in the Rules is not intended to limit the circumstances in which the NDIA may give a public interest certificate under the NDIS Act (Rule 4.2 of the Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules).

The NDIA may give a public interest certificate for the disclosure of protected information if:

  • the information cannot reasonably be obtained from another source other than the NDIA; and
  • the person to whom the information will be disclosed has a sufficient interest in the information (rule 4.3 of the Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules).

A person has sufficient interest in the NDIS information if:

  • the NDIA is satisfied that, in relation to the purpose of the disclosure, the person has a genuine and legitimate interest in the information; or
  • the person is a Commonwealth, State or Territory Minister (rule 4.4 of the Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules).

In considering whether to give a public interest certificate, the NDIA should have regard to whether the person to whom the disclosure is to be made would be likely to be in a position to seek assistance themselves or give notice of their circumstances (rule 4.5 of the Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules).

Circumstances in which a public interest certificate may be provided are where disclosure is necessary for:

Where information is disclosed, the NDIA will provide the information to the recipient by the most secure method as possible.

The NDIA must also explain to the recipient that the information is, and continues to be, protected information and that the information must not be disclosed further unless required to further the purposes of disclosure. For example, further disclosure may be necessary in cases where misinformation is to be corrected, or a missing person is to be located.

9.2 Disclosure to Heads of Agencies

The NDIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) may disclose information to the Secretary of a Commonwealth Department, the Chief Executive (however described) of a State or Territory Department, or the head of an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory. The disclosure must be for the purposes of the Department to which the information is disclosed (section 66(1)(b)(i) and (v)).

The CEO may also disclose information to the Chief Executive of Centrelink for the purposes of a Centrelink program or to the Chief Executive of Medicare for the purposes of a Medicare program (section 66(1)(b)(iii) and (iv)).

Requests of this kind must be referred to the office of the CEO and the Privacy Contact Officer.

If the CEO decided to disclose protected information the Privacy Contact Officer will make a record of:

  • the information that was disclosed;
  • the Secretary, Chief Executive (however described) or head of authority to whom the information was disclosed; and
  • where relevant, the purpose for which the disclosure was requested by the Secretary, Chief Executive (however described) or head of authority, or if the information was disclosed on the CEO's own initiative, the purpose for which the information was disclosed (rule 5.5 of the Protection and Disclosure of Information Rules).

9.3 Disclosure of information to participant's nominee

The NDIA may disclose protected information to a participant's nominee if the protected information:

  • relates to the participant (section 66(3)(a)); and
  • is or was held in the records of the NDIA (section 66(3)(b)).
This page current as of
18 July 2019