7.1.2.20 Offences & Penalties

Offences related to protected information under PPL law

The PPLAct contains a number of offences relating to unauthorised access to or use of protected information as well as soliciting disclosure or offering to supply protected information.

Act reference: PPLAct section 129 Offence-unauthorised access to protected information, section 130 Offence-unauthorised use of protected information, section 131 Offence-soliciting disclosure of protected information, section 132 Offence-offering to supply protected information

Policy reference: PPL Guide 7.1.1 General Power to Obtain Information

Penalties for offences related to protected information in the PPLAct

The following table outlines:

  • the offences related to protected information, and
  • the penalties for those offences.
Offence Imprisonment period upon conviction PPLAct reference

Unauthorised access to protected information.

Example: A person misrepresenting their identity to Centrelink to access protected information about another person.

2 years section 129 Offence-unauthorised access to protected information
Unauthorised use of protected information, i.e. making a record of, disclosing or otherwise using protected information when not authorised or required under the PPLAct to do so. 2 years section 130 Offence-unauthorised use of protected information

Soliciting the disclosure of protected information where the disclosure would contravene the confidentiality provisions in the PPLAct.

Explanation: It is an offence whether or not any protected information is actually given.

2 years section 131 Offence-soliciting disclosure of protected information
Offering to supply protected information. A person commits an offence if the person offers to supply or holds himself or herself out as being able to supply protected information about another person.

Explanation: This does not apply to an authorised officer carrying out their duties under the PPLAct.

2 years section 132 Offence-offering to supply protected information

Note: It is not an offence for a member of the AAT to disclose information if the information concerns a threat to the life, health or welfare of a person and the member believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen the threat. If the threat suggests that an offence may be or has been committed against a person the AAT member can disclose information for the purpose of preventing, investigating or prosecuting that offence.

Act reference: PPLAct Part 4-1 Division 3 Confidentiality, section 130A Disclosure of information by AAT members-threat to life, health or welfare

Last reviewed: 14 August 2017