Privacy and credit reporting

The Government has announced that changes to credit reporting laws will be included in its first stage of responses to the ALRC Privacy Report.

It says that dealing with them at an early stage is consistent with COAG’s current agenda on consumer credit reform.

The ALRC recommends that the existing credit reporting provisions of the Privacy Act be repealed. Instead, credit reporting should be regulated under the general provisions of the Act and new credit reporting regulations, incorporating significant recommended changes to the current rules.

In response to the credit industry’s request for access to more information about borrowers, the ALRC recommends that there should be some expansion of the categories of personal information that can be included in credit reporting information held by credit reporting agencies.

The ALRC says the four additional items should be:
• the type of each current credit account opened (eg, mortgage, credit card, personal loan);
• the date on which each current credit account was opened;
• the credit limit of each current account; and
• the date on which each credit account was closed.

Legislation is expected within 12 to 18 months.

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