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Move to extend privacy law exemption

THE New South Wales Government has proposed changes to privacy laws that will enable its agencies to share information about young people at risk of falling into a life of crime reports AAP on 26th September 2006.

Premier Morris Iemma today said research undertaken by his department had found about 50 per cent of all assaults in public places were committed by people aged under 25 years.

He said privacy laws were hampering information sharing between government agencies about young offenders.

A trial exempting young offenders aged between 16 and 25 from some aspects of privacy laws is underway in the inner-city Sydney Redfern-Waterloo district.

Mr Iemma said the government would seek to extend the trial to several other parts of the state.

"The changes will mean that agencies like DOCS (Department of Community Services), police and education can sit in a room together and talk about their most problematic cases and help these young people from going off the rails," Mr Iemma said in a statement.

An expert committee, including the privacy commissioner, will monitor the trials.

Mr Iemma did not say how long the trials would last.

Under privacy laws, only DOCS can initiate information sharing with other agencies about people aged under 16.

Privacy laws limit information sharing between government about individuals aged over 16.