On 25 February 2015, the Attorney-General's Department announced that the exemption for commercial credit providers to be a member of an external dispute resolution scheme (EDR) would be extended.

Under section 21D(2)(a)(i) of the Privacy Act, a credit provider is not permitted to disclose credit information  about an individual to a credit reporting body unless it is a member of an approved EDR.

The Privacy Regulation 2013, which provided a temporary exemption from EDR membership, was due to expire on 11 March 2015.  .

Following consultation with stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates and an EDR scheme provider, the Attorney-General's Department has determined that the exemption for commercial credit providers from the EDR membership should continue. The reasons for the decision include:

  • the potential costs to industry of not extending the exemption;  
  • the lack of clear evidence of a consumer detriment if the exemption was to remain;   
  • current industry practices; and  
  • the ability of consumers to seek redress in relation to complaints about commercial credit reporting via credit reporting bodies, who are required to hold EDR membership.  

This is a significant win for small commercial credit providers currently relying on the temporary exemption, for whom EDR membership would pose a significant regulatory burden.

The regulation will be put to the Executive Council on Thursday 26 February 2015. Once approved, the Privacy Amendment (2015 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2015 will be registered and publicly available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.  A full statement of reasons will also be available in the Explanatory Statement once published on the Register.