Direction for the Infringement Processing Bureau, NSW Police and Roads and Traffic Authority

This Direction affects the Infringement Processing Bureau (IPB), NSW Police and the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). It was originally made on 30 September 2003 and expired on 30 June 2005 after relevant legislative amendments were made.

Overview

This is a direction made under section 41(1) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act). It should be read in conjunction with that Act.

Coverage

This Direction is intended to cover the Infringement Processing Bureau (IPB), NSW Police and the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).

This Direction does not apply to “health information” as defined in section 6 of the Health Records & Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act). From 1 September 2004 the handling of health information must comply with the HRIP Act.

Background

The IPB’s functions include processing penalty notices as part of the Self Enforcement Infringement Notice Scheme, a statutory scheme allowing authorised officers to issue on the spot fines for a variety of offences. On 1 October 2003 the IPB was transferred from NSW Police to the Office of State Revenue (OSR). Under the administration of NSW Police the IPB enjoyed broad exemptions from compliance with the Information Protection Principles in the PPIP Act. Under the OSR it does not enjoy such exemptions and the IPB does not have specific legislative power to access personal information from NSW Police or the RTA.

Public Interest

This Direction has been made to allow the IPB to access personal information which is held by the NSW Police and the RTA for the purpose of issuing Infringement Notices, Reminder Notices and other activities associated with Infringement Notices and the processing of Court Elections and representations received in respect of Infringement Notices.

I am satisfied that the public interest in enabling the business of issuing Infringement Notices to continue uninterrupted following the transfer of the IPB from NSW Police to the OSR, is greater than the public interest in requiring compliance with the following Information Protection Principles by the IPB, the RTA and the NSW Police.

Provisions

1. This Direction applies to the accessing of information through NSW Police COPS computer system, Police reports and the RTA computer system and the use and disclosure of personal information for the purpose of issuing Infringement Notices, Reminder Notices and other activities associated with Infringement Notices and the processing of Court Elections and representations received in respect of infringement notices.

2. The IPB (as part of the OSR) need not comply with sections 9,10, or 11 if it is required to obtain personal information from organisations or persons other than the individual to whom the information relates for the purpose of issuing Infringement Notices, Reminder Notices, other activities associated with Infringement Notices and the processing Court Elections and representations received in respect of Infringement Notices.

3. The IPB (as part of the OSR) need not comply with section 13 or 14 in the following circumstances:

Where motor vehicle offences are not committed by the owner the IPB is not required to comply with a request where:

  • there are operator onus offences when for instance false, inaccurate or erroneous nominations are given in circumstances where financial compensation may be sought by a “nominee” wrongly nominated,
  • payments where a cheque paid by another individual is dishonoured or where demerit points are deducted from the owner of a vehicle and payment is made by the driver who is not the owner in order to “disguise” an infringement, the owner of the vehicle nominates another party as being involved in the offence.
  • satisfying the request for access from an individual who is not the individual nominated as the person responsible would involve the disclosure of information which has been supplied by sources such as the RTA or other authorities and, for instance in relation to the issue of “camera detected” penalty notices for operator onus offences.

    4. For the purpose of paragraph 3 an “operator onus offence” is a breach of any legal obligation which arises from the manner in which the “responsible person” for a vehicle is defined in section 7 and 8 of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999, or the breach of a legal requirement for the owner or driver of a motor vehicle to provide information to an authorised officer, for example a requirement under sections 19, 20 or 21 of the Road Transport (General) Act 1999.

5. The application of section 16 to the IPB should not be assumed to require that, before information acquired from the RTA, NSW Police or the person responsible for a vehicle is used, the information is verified with the individual to whom it relates.

6. The IPB, the RTA and NSW Police need not comply with section 18 where the disclosure of personal information between those agencies is for the purpose of issuing Infringement Notices, other activities associated with Infringement Notices and the processing Court Elections and representations received in respect of Infringement Notices.

7. The provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Direction are not intended to override and do not override any other legal requirement dealing with the collection use or disclosure of information by a relevant agency.

Duration

This Direction will operate from 1 October 2004 until 30 June 2005 or until the making of a Privacy Code of Practice or other law which may authorise non-compliance with the PPIP Act, whichever is earlier. During this period the IPB, the NSW Police and the RTA are expected to consider legal alternatives which will avoid the need to continue this direction.

Signed by me on this 28th day of September 2004.

John Dickie
Acting Privacy Commissioner

 

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