The Albanese Government risks burdening Australian small businesses with more complexity and costs in their response to a review of the Privacy Act.

Shadow Attorney-General Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said: “It would be appalling but not surprising if Labor's new privacy regime targets small businesses by imposing more complexity and costs at a time when they are already struggling.”

“The Government’s own paper acknowledges that privacy laws “disproportionately and unreasonably” burden small businesses – but it has decided to impose those burdens anyway,’’ Senator Cash said.

“We all want better protection for our information, but we’re talking about imposing a complex and difficult regulatory regime on hairdressers, nail salons and mechanics, and potentially making them pay civil penalties if they make a mistake,’’ Senator Cash said.

“The Government has agreed-in-principle that organisations must appoint a senior employee to be responsible for privacy within the entity. How is that going to work for a small business, like a nail salon or a mechanic?” she said.

“We are talking about changing the rules for how we deal with personal information. If we don’t get it right there are potential far-reaching consequences for businesses and families across the country,’’ Senator Cash said.

“We want to know the Government’s proposals will adequately protect Australians' personal information without creating additional red tape for people who are just trying to get ahead,’’ Senator Cash said.

“This Government has an ambivalent, bordering on hostile attitude to small businesses. They keep hitting small business with complexity, confusion and costs on multiple fronts - just look at the proposed industrial relations laws” she said.