Department of Veterans affairs apologises for privacy breach

April 22, 2014 |

The Australian in Apology to veteran for privacy breach reports on what appears to be a fairly serious privacy breach by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It provides:

THE Department of Veterans Affairs’ Affairs has apologised to a former army sergeant after a private company employed by the fed­eral government obtained confi­dential information about his claim for medical compensation.

The admission has brought calls for an inquiry into the de­partment after revelations in the The Australian that a senior pub­ lic servant was under investigation over his relationship with the company,Writeway  Resarch.

Palmer United Party senator elect Jacqui Lambie, a former sol­dier who spent years in a dispute with the department over her dis­ability pension, said she was con­cerned about the company’s role within a system she described as “dangerously flawed”

“An independent investi­gation into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs must be launched, with the objective of allowing the veterans and their families to have their say under oath,”Ms Lambie said.

Earlier this month, the depart­ment wrote to a former army medical corps sergeant, Gordon Dunn, to apologise forthe release of his confidential infonnation to Writeway’s director, John Til­brook.  The release followed a legal dispute last year between Mr Dunn and his then-employer, the Queensland Ambulance Ser­vice, during which Mr Tilbrook was asked to disclose any records he held relating to Mr Dunn.

Mr Tilbrook, whose company has produced  thousands  of “re­search   reports”  into   veterans’ claims   for   medical   compen­sation, subsequently contacted the DVA head office in Canberra.

He was told Mr Dunnhad pre­viously made a claim for medical compensation and given the relevant file number, information he subsequently passed on in re­sponseto the notice to produce.

In its letter to Mr Dunn, the DVA said it”has formed a view that your privacy may have.been breached by an officer or offi­cers”. Mr Dunn said the issue raised questions about Write­way’s relationship with the gov­ernment and he would seek legal advice about the privacy breach.

Two departments, the DVA and the Defence Department, are investigating the production of allegedly false evidence used against an army veteran’s claim for medical compensation.





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