Section 89 Companion Animals Act 1998 | Confidentiality of Information


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The Legislation

Section 89 of the Companion Animals Act 1998 is Confidentiality of Information and is extracted below.

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89 Confidentiality of certain information

(1) In this section:”confidential information” means:
(a) any information contained in, or acquired from, the Register, or
(b) any other information obtained in connection with the enforcement or administration of this Act or the regulations.
Examples of information obtained in connection with the enforcement or administration of this Act include information relating to identification of companion animals and their owners that is collected by authorised identifiers such as veterinary practitioners, and information gathered by authorised officers in the course of their enforcement functions.

(2) A person must not:
(a) access or attempt to access confidential information, or
(b) allow a person to have access to confidential information, or
(c) directly or indirectly make a record of confidential information, or
(d) directly or indirectly disclose or pass confidential information to any person, or
(e) use confidential information, or
(f) alter, delete, destroy or interfere with any record comprising confidential information, or
(g) make any entry in the Register.
Maximum penalty:
(a) 25 penalty units except in the case of confidential information that is suppressed, or
(b) 100 penalty units in the case of confidential information that is suppressed.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), confidential information is “suppressed” if:
(a) the information contains the personal details of a person who is the owner of a companion animal, and
(b) the information is entered in the Register, and
(c) the person has requested the Director-General to keep the information confidential, and
(d) the Director-General is satisfied that the request is made because the person is concerned that disclosure of the information could jeopardise the safety of the person or any member of the person’s family, and
(e) it is indicated in the Register that the information is suppressed.

(4) It is not an offence under this section for a person to do anything referred to in subsection (2) (a)-(g):
(a) for the purposes of, or in connection with, the lawful exercise of functions under the Act, or
(b) as authorised or required by or under section 75, or
(c) as authorised or directed by the Director-General, or
(d) for the purposes of listing the identification or registration information in respect of a companion animal on a database that is of a class prescribed by the regulations, but only if the owner of the companion animal has expressly consented to that information being so listed.

(5) It is not an offence under this section for a person to disclose confidential information if the person is required to do so by law.

(6) This section does not apply to the disclosure of confidential information to any of the following:
(a) the Independent Commission Against Corruption,
(b) the Australian Crime Commission,
(c) the New South Wales Crime Commission,
(d) the Ombudsman,
(e) any other person or body prescribed for the purposes of this subsection.

(7) This section does not apply to the disclosure of the name of the owner of a companion animal to a person who seeks that information for the purpose of bringing legal proceedings against the owner in respect of the animal’s behaviour, but only if:
(a) the person has requested the disclosure of that information in writing, and
(b) the animal’s behaviour concerned has been reported to a police officer or a council.

(8) In subsection (7), “person” includes the person’s legal representative.