39.1 Generally speaking, small businesses—namely, those with an annual turnover of $3 million or less—are exempt from the operation of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). This exemption is commonly known as the ‘small business exemption’. It has been estimated that up to 94% of Australian businesses may fall under this exemption. The small business exemption has been scrutinised by four separate inquiries since 2000, when the Privacy Act was extended to the private sector. In this chapter, the ALRC examines the competing arguments on reform of the exemption and concludes that the small business exemption should be removed.
39.2 Having regard to the need to minimise unnecessary compliance costs on small businesses, however, the ALRC recommends that, before the removal of the exemption, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) should provide substantial support and assistance to small businesses to assist them in understanding and fulfilling their obligations under the Privacy Act. Such assistance would include a national hotline for small businesses, educational materials on the requirements under the Act, templates for Privacy Policies and educational programs targeted at small businesses.
 Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) s 6C.
 Parliament of Australia—House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Advisory Report on the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000 (2000), [2.20]. The estimate was based on Australian Bureau of Statistics, Business Growth and Performance Survey, Financial Year 1997/1998 (1999), which has been discontinued since then.
 Parliament of Australia—House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Advisory Report on the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000 (2000); Parliament of Australia—Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Provisions of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000 (2000); Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Getting in on the Act: The Review of the Private Sector Provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 (2005); Parliament of Australia—Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee, The Real Big Brother: Inquiry into the Privacy Act 1988 (2005).