36.29 A number of agencies listed in sch 2, Part II, Division 1 of the FOI Actare exempt from the Privacy Act where their acts and practices relate to documents specified in the FOI Act,to the extent that those documents relate to the non-commercial activities of the agencies or of other entities. In relation to documents that are not specified under the FOI Act, these agencies are covered by the IPPs where the documents concern the agencies’ non-commercial activities or the non-commercial activities of other entities. These agencies also are covered by the NPPs where their acts and practices relate to commercial activities or to documents concerning commercial activities. In addition, they are required to comply with the tax file number provisions and, where applicable, the credit reporting provisions of the Privacy Act. These agencies are described below.
Financial departments and agencies
36.30 The Department of the Treasury focuses primarily on economic policy and has four principal functions: (i) fostering a sound macroeconomic environment; (ii) providing advice to government on effective government spending and taxation arrangements; (iii) assisting in the formulation and implementation of effective taxation and retirement income arrangements; and (iv) providing advice to government on policy processes and reforms that promote markets that function effectively. The Department’s acts and practices relating to documents concerning the activities of the Australian Loan Council are exempt from the IPPs and NPPs, to the extent that those documents relate to non-commercial activities. The Australian Loan Council is a Commonwealth-State ministerial council that coordinates public sector borrowing. The Prime Minister and the premier or chief minister of each state and territory constitute the Council.
36.31 The Reserve Bank of Australia is a statutory authority that is responsible for: formulating and implementing monetary and banking policy; maintaining financial system stability; contributing to the maintenance of full employment in Australia; and promoting the safety and efficiency of the payments system. It actively participates in financial markets, manages Australia’s foreign reserves, issues Australian currency notes and serves as banker to the Australian Government. The Reserve Bank has the power to: receive money on deposit; borrow and lend money; buy, sell, discount and re-discount bills of exchange, promissory notes and treasury bills; buy and sell securities issued by the Australian Government and other securities; buy, sell and otherwise deal in foreign currency, specie, gold and other precious metals; establish credits and give guarantees; issue bills and drafts and effect transfers of money; underwrite loans; and issue, re-issue or cancel Australian notes. The Reserve Bank is exempt from compliance with the Privacy Act where its acts and practices relate to documents concerning its banking operations (including individual open market operations and foreign exchange dealings) or exchange control matters, to the extent that these documents relate to non-commercial activities.
36.32 The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation is a self-funded statutory corporation wholly owned by the Australian Government. It provides specialist financial and insurance services to Australian companies exporting and investing overseas. The Corporation is exempt from the operation of the Privacy Act where its acts and practices relate to documents concerning anything it has done under Part 4 (insurance and financial services and products) or Part 5 (national interest transactions) of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 (Cth), to the extent that those documents relate to non-commercial activities.
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
36.33 The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit. It is located within the portfolio of the Attorney-General. AUSTRAC oversees compliance with the reporting requirements of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth) and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act) by financial services providers, the gambling industry and others. It also provides financial transaction report information to federal, state and territory law enforcement, security, social justice and revenue agencies, as well as to certain international counterparts. AUSTRAC is exempt from compliance with the Privacy Act in respect of documents concerning certain information, namely:
reports of suspected illegal transactions by cash dealers involving currency in excess of $10,000 under s 16 of the Financial Transaction Reports Act; 
reports of suspicious matters—that is, matters where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that funds are the proceeds of criminal activity, or are related to terrorism financing or money laundering—under s 41 of the AML/CTF Act; and
information requested by AUSTRAC from a reporting entity in relation to reports of suspicious matters, threshold transactions and certain international funds transfer transactions under s 49 of the AML/CTF Act.
36.34 Part 11 of the AML/CTF Act contains secrecy and access provisions concerning information obtained or held by AUSTRAC. Section 123 of the AML/CTF Act creates an offence of ‘tipping off’. A reporting entity is prohibited from disclosing that it has: formed a suspicion about a transaction or matter; given, or is required to give, a suspicious matter report to AUSTRAC; or provided further information under s 49(1) of the AML/CTF Act. A similar provision in the Financial Transaction Reports Act applies to cash dealers in relation to suspected illegal transactions.
36.35 An AUSTRAC official is prohibited from disclosing information or documents collected, compiled or analysed by AUSTRAC except for the purposes of: the AML/CTL Act or the Financial Transaction Reports Act; the performance of the functions of the Chief Executive Officer of AUSTRAC (AUSTRAC CEO); or the performance of the official’s duties under the AML/CTL Act or the Financial Transaction Reports Act. In addition, AUSTRAC officials and other investigating officials (such as the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission) are prohibited from disclosing any information obtained under s 49 of the AML/CTL Act except for the purposes of the AML/CTL Act or the Financial Transaction Reports Act, or in connection with their official functions and duties.
36.36 In the performance of his or her functions, the AUSTRAC CEO must consult with, and consider the views of, a number of entities and agencies, including the Privacy Commissioner.
36.37 The interaction between the AML/CTF Act and the Privacy Act is discussed further in Chapter 16.
Media regulatory agencies
36.38 The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is a statutory body responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, radiocommunications, telecommunications and the internet. Its responsibilities include: promoting self-regulation and competition in the telecommunications industry, while protecting consumers and other users; fostering an environment in which electronic media respects community standards and responds to audience and user needs; managing access to the radiofrequency spectrum; and representing Australia’s communications and broadcasting interests internationally.
36.39 The Classification Board and the Classification Review Board are separate and independent statutory bodies. The Classification Board classifies films (including videos and DVDs), computer games and certain publications before they are made available to the public. It also provides classifications to ACMA on internet content, advice to enforcement agencies such as the police, and advice to the Australian Customs Service. The Classification Review Board is a part-time body that reviews the classification of films, publications or computer games upon receipt of a valid application to review the decisions of the Classification Board.
36.40 The Office of Film and Literature Classification was an agency within the Attorney-General’s portfolio that provided support to the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board. On 1 July 2007, the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) took over the policy and administrative functions of the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Office ceased to exist as a separate agency.
36.41 ACMA, the Classification Board, the Classification Review Board and the AGD are exempt from the Privacy Act where their acts and practices concern ‘exempt content-service documents’ or ‘exempt Internet-content documents’ under schs 5 and 7 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth). An ‘exempt content-service document’ means a document containing offensive content that has been delivered or accessed using a content service; or a document that sets out how to access, or is likely to facilitate access to, offensive content-service content. An ‘exempt Internet-content document’ is a document containing offensive information that has been copied from the internet; or a document that sets out how to access, or is likely to facilitate access to, offensive information on the internet.
36.42 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a statutory corporation and Australia’s only national, non-commercial broadcaster. The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is Australia’s multicultural and multilingual public broadcaster. The SBS was established under the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (Cth) to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services.
36.43 Pursuant to s 7(1)(c) of the Privacy Act, both the ABC and the SBS are covered by the Privacy Act except in relation to their program materials and datacasting content. Section 7A of the Act provides, however, that despite s 7(1)(c), certain acts and practices of the agencies listed in sch 2, Part II, div 1 of the FOI Act (including the ABC and the SBS) are to be treated as acts and practices of organisations. These include acts and practices in relation to documents concerning their commercial activities or the commercial activities of another entity, and acts and practices that relate to those commercial activities. Therefore, it would appear that, apart from their program materials and datacasting content, the ABC and the SBS are covered by the IPPs in relation to non-commercial activities, and the NPPs in relation to commercial activities. To the extent that their program materials and datacasting content relate to commercial activities, they are covered by the private sector provisions of the Privacy Act.
36.44 The Revised Explanatory Memorandum to the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000 (Cth) stated, however, that s 7A was not intended to apply to the ABC and the SBS.
The effect of new clause 7A is to make the acts and practices of some agencies subject to the standards in the NPPs (or an approved privacy code, as appropriate), to the extent that they are not currently subject to the Information Privacy Principles (by virtue of section 7 of the Act). The Government’s policy is that bodies operating in the commercial sphere should operate on a level playing field. Where agencies are engaged in commercial activities, they should be required to comply with the NPPs, just like private sector organisations …
The aim of the amendment is to ensure that an agency in Division 1 of Part II of Schedule 2 to the FOI Act complies with the standards set out in the NPPs or an approved privacy code (as appropriate) in relation to documents in respect of its commercial activities or the commercial activities of another entity. This clause is intended to apply to agencies such as Comcare, the Health Insurance Commission and Telstra Corporation Limited. It is not intended to apply to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation.
36.45 Where the acts and practices of the ABC and the SBS are to be treated as those of organisations, they may still be exempt if carried out in the course of journalism. The exemption relating to journalism is discussed in Chapter 42.
36.46 The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) was established by the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 (Cth). Its functions are to provide advice, market intelligence and support to Australian companies to reduce the time, cost and risk involved in selecting, entering and developing international markets. In addition, it provides advice and guidance on overseas investment and joint venture opportunities. Austrade also administers the Export Market Development Grants scheme, which provides financial assistance to eligible businesses through partial reimbursement of the costs of specified export promotion activities.
36.47 Austrade is exempt from the operation of the Privacy Act where its acts and practices relate to documents concerning the carrying out of overseas development projects, to the extent that these documents relate to non-commercial activities.
National Health and Medical Research Council
36.48 The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is a statutory agency responsible for promoting the development and maintenance of public and individual health standards. It does this by fostering the development of consistent health standards between states and territories, fostering health and medical research and training, and monitoring ethical issues relating to health throughout Australia.
36.49 The NHMRC is exempt from the Privacy Act where its acts and practices relate to documents in the possession of its Council members who are not persons appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth), to the extent that these documents relate to non-commercial activities.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.
 Ibid s 7(1)(c).
 Ibid s 7A.
 Ibid s 7(2).
 Australian Government—The Treasury, About Treasury <www.treasury.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.
Australian Government, 2007–08 Budget Paper No 3—Federal Financial Relations 2007–08 (2007), 35.
 Reserve Bank of Australia, About the RBA <www.rba.gov.au/AboutTheRBA/> at 25 March 2008. See also Reserve Bank Act 1959 (Cth) s 10.
Reserve Bank Act 1959 (Cth) ss 8, 34.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.
 Australian Government Export Finance Insurance Corporation, About Us <www.efic.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.
 AUSTRAC, About AUSTRAC <www.austrac.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
A ‘cash dealer’ is defined to include, for example, a financial institution, an insurer or an insurance intermediary, a person who carries on a business of collecting, holding, exchanging, remitting or transferring currency on behalf of other persons: Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth) s 3.
 A reporting entity is a person who provides a ‘designated service’: Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) s 5. Designated services include a wide range of specified financial services, bullion trading services, gambling services and other prescribed services: Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) s 6.
 A ‘threshold transaction’ means a transaction involving the transfer of not less than $10,000 of physical currency or e-currency, or a transaction specified in regulations to be a threshold transaction: Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) s 5.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) s 7(1)(c).
 This is subject to certain exceptions under s 123(4)–(8) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth).
Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth) s 16(5A), (5AA).
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) s 121.
Ibid s 122.
 The AUSTRAC CEO also must consult with reporting entities or their representatives, and the heads of specified investigative agencies: Ibid s 212(2).
Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 (Cth) pt 2 div 2; Australian Communications and Media Authority, Client Service Charter <www.acma.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
 Australian Government, The Classification Board <www.classification.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
 Australian Government, The Classification Review Board <www.classification.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, Administrative Arrangements for the Classification Board and Classification Review Board <www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/
RWPEB9317B18576C244CA2572D700023C62> at 6 August 2007.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) s 4(1). Subject to a number of exceptions, a ‘content service’ means a service that delivers content by means of a carriage service to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that content, or a service that allows end-users to access content using a carriage service: Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 7 cl 2. ‘Carriage service’ means a service for carrying communications by means of guided or unguided electromagnetic energy: Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 7 cl 2; Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) s 7.
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) s 4(1).
Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (Cth) s 6.
 In Rivera v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2005) 222 ALR 189, Hill J of the Federal Court of Australia held that s 7(1)(c) of the Privacy Act operated so as to exempt any acts and practices of the ABC dealing with records concerning its program material and therefore the court had no jurisdiction to grant relief under the Act. One commentator observed that the court’s attention had not been drawn to all the relevant provisions of the Act, including the journalism exemption and s 7A which provides that despite s 7(1)(c), the ABC is subject to the NPPs where its acts and practices concerns commercial activities: P Gunning, ‘Cases + Complaints: Rivera v Australian Broadcasting Corporation  FCA 661’ (2004) 11 Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 205. In Australian Broadcasting Corporation v The University of Technology, Sydney (2006) 91 ALD 514, Bennett J of the Federal Court of Australia held that the ABC is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) in relation to documents that have a direct or indirect relationship to ABC’s program materials, provided that those documents also have a relationship to the ABC.
 ‘Datacast’ means to broadcast digital information: Macquarie Dictionary (online ed, 2007). Under s 6 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), ‘datacasting service’ means a service that delivers content using the broadcasting services bands—whether in the form of text; data; speech, music or other sounds; visual images; or any other form—to persons with the appropriate equipment for receiving that content.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) s 7A.
 Revised Explanatory Memorandum, Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000 (Cth), notes on clauses , .
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(ee), 7B(4).
Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 (Cth) ss 7A, 8; Austrade, What is Austrade? <www.
austrade.gov.au> at 25 March 2008.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A. An ‘overseas development project’ is a project to be carried out in a foreign country by way of: the construction of works; the provision of services; the design, supply or installation of equipment or facilities; or the testing in the field of agricultural practices: Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 (Cth) s 3(1).
 National Health and Medical Research Council, Role of the NHMRC <www.nhmrc.gov.au/about/role/
index.htm> at 25 March 2008. See also National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (Cth) ss 5C, 7.
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ss 7(1)(c), 7A.