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26 November 2018

On 26 November 2018, the Australian Parliament passed the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018.

These changes are in response to the Australian community’s calls for even stronger privacy and security protections for people using My Health Record.

The new laws mean Australians can choose to have a My Health Record or to permanently delete it at any time in their life.

After 31 January 2019, a My Health Record will be created for every eligible Australian who has chosen not to opt-out by the deadline.

Briefly, the new laws will:

  • Allow people to permanently delete their records, and any backups, at any time in their life.
  • Prohibit by law access to My Health Records by anyone for insurance or employment purposes.
  • Strengthen privacy for teenagers 14 years and over.
  • Strengthen protections for people at risk of family and domestic violence
  • Make clear that the System Operator cannot delegate functions to an entity other than a employee of the Department of Health or the Chief Executive of Medicare.
  • Require law enforcement and other government agencies to produce an order from a judicial officer to access information in a My Health Record
  • Make clear that the system cannot be privatised or commercialised.

For more detail about the new laws, see this summary.