The Privacy Commissioner told Dominello’s Office to delete the file of motorists details including that of the NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley … yet the document found its way into the hands of a newspaper journalist …
DESPITE this event Mr Dominello has been put in charge of all the data for the NSW Government in his role as head of the new Customer Service portfolio …
A Berejiklian government minister’s office was told to destroy a departmental document containing the private details of hundreds of motorists, including then NSW opposition leader Michael Daley, but the spreadsheet ended up in the hands of a journalist.
A police investigation into the leak of the document’s details, which surfaced during the NSW election campaign in March, has interviewed 10 staffers now working in the office of Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello.
The Australian can reveal the state’s Privacy Commission has also reviewed the matter after Mr Dominello’s department referred the breach to it. The saga began last year when Mr Dominello’s office asked the government department Revenue NSW for a breakdown of the number of calls to a special hotline MPs can use for their constituents to help them with driving offences.
The department accidentally sent a tab showing private details of many motorists, including Mr Daley and his wife.
The document also showed Mr Daley’s electorate staff rang to tell the department Mr Daley’s wife, Christina, was driving his car when a traffic offence was incurred.
Several months later, shortly after Mr Daley became Labor leader in October, a departmental liaison officer for Mr Dominello asked for more information on the document from the department.
At this point, the Commissioner of Revenue NSW, Stephen Brady, is said to have realised the distribution of the document, containing hundreds of motorists’ private information, was a privacy breach. He ordered it be referred to the Privacy Commissioner and told Mr Dominello’s office to delete the file. But the document instead found the way into the hands of a newspaper journalist.
*Revelations of the breach comes after Mr Dominello, who is close to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has been put in charge of all the data for the government in his role as head of the new Customer Service portfolio.
At the time of the incident, Mr Dominello was finance minister.
*The Australian revealed earlier this month that one of Mr Dominello’s staffers, Tom Green, was seconded to the Liberal campaign “dirt unit” to work alongside another government staffer, John Macgowan, during the state election campaign.
*Mr Macgowan was named by Labor in parliament this month as the man who distributed the information to a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
He declined to comment at the time.
Mr Brady said yesterday in a statement: “When Revenue NSW became aware of the incident, the Information and Privacy Commission [IPC] was immediately notified.
“The IPC recommended Revenue NSW take the opportunity to review governance arrangements to ensure all staff are aware of their privacy obligations.
“Revenue NSW has complied with this recommendation, reviewing approval procedures and ensuring training on privacy obligations is tracked so that similar incidents do not occur in future.”
In parliament earlier this month, Mr Dominello attempted to laugh off the police probe.
In response to an opposition question, he said: “For the past 24 hours, something has been weighing on my conscience and I have been tossing and turning about whether I need to correct the record.
“Yesterday I said it was four years since I was asked a question by the opposition; it was actually five years,” he said, to much laughter from his colleagues.
“But there is a police investigation under way: I have directed my staff and my agency to co-operate with it and I will not be saying anything further.”
Mr Daley, when contacted by The Australian over the matter yesterday, said: “It doesn’t get much more serious that this.
“The private details of thousands of people which are supposed to be guarded by the government and they were released for political purposes.
“I do not intend to let this matter rest.”
Police are expected to refer the matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as they do not have enough evidence to lay a charge.
Mr Dominello responded to The Australian’s questions with a one-line statement yesterday, saying: “I am not in a position to comment on this matter until the police investigation is finalised.”