Privacy reform laws passed by the House of Representatives

Privacy reform laws have now been passed by the House of Representatives. The reforms will make it easier and fairer for small businesses to access mainstream credit, through the reporting of additional information on consumer credit files.

Under the current credit reporting system, small businesses that are sole traders - meaning that the credit profiles of the business and owner are identical - may find it difficult to obtain a loan for their business if their personal credit history is less than perfect. The present system only records negative information such as defaults and bankruptcies.

Under the proposed reforms, positive information - such as a history of payments made on time and details of credit accounts - can also be recorded.

According to Steve Brown, D&B's Director of Consumer Services, increased positive credit information on small businesses will be a major plus for sole traders.

"Small business will benefit from the reforms because of the additional information that becomes available on business owners - this tends to turn small business owners from credit 'invisible' to credit worthy."

The reforms will also help lenders to better assess the creditworthiness of their applicants and improve the way personal information is used and stored.

Dun & Bradstreet, who has been an advocate of these reforms since 2004, believes the changes will bring Australia's credit reporting regime into line with other developed economies.

According to the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, these reforms represent the most significant changes to the Privacy Act since the Act was introduced in 1988.

"These changes will provide much more power to consumers to be able to access and, if necessary, correct their credit reports," Ms Roxon said.

"The House Committee has found that the reforms should be passed in their current form and the Government has moved quickly to implement those wishes."

More specifically, the changes include:

  • A modernised and updated credit reporting system,
  • Increased access to view and correct consumer credit information,
  • Increased regulation of the use of personal information for direct marketing purposes,
  • Higher standard of protecting sensitive information such as health-related information, DNA and biometric data, and
  • Tightened rules on sending personal information outside Australia.

The reforms will now be introduced in the Senate where it is currently under consideration by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee.

Connect with us to receive updates throughout the day:

Like us on Facebok Follow us on Twitter

Dun and Bradstreet AustraliaTop of page Dun & Bradstreet Australia Pty Ltd 2015 | D&B Small Business    *About Us    *Sitemap    *Advertise    *Privacy    *Terms & Conditions