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Govt lawyers gather as election looms

Sarah Plasto
FLC President Sarah Plasto at the Government Lawyers Conference. Photos: Geoff McLeod

Future Leaders Committee President Sarah Plasto reminded attendees at Friday’s Government Lawyers Conference of the impending Queensland election.

A government lawyer, Sarah addressed the Queensland Law Society (QLS) conference at Law Society House, Brisbane.

“Now that we are 12 months away from the State Election, it is a timely reminder of the importance of our roles as public servants to be responsive to the requirements of government and serve in the public interest,” she said.

“QLS is currently collecting feedback from the Queensland legal profession on issues which should be included in its 2024 Call to Parties statement, asking political parties to consider and deliver on commitments on the priority issues identified by the Law Society.

“Our Legal Policy Team has just wrapped up a series of online, member-only focus groups covering various topics. You can read more about the outcome in Proctor.

“Members can also still share their thoughts via the feedback option on the QLS website and will be invited to provide input on a consultation draft once it has been approved by Council in early 2024.

“It is crucial that we as practitioners remain well-informed and abreast of legal developments. It’s also why events like this conference are so important.

“They deliver the opportunity for us to take pause, unpack the opportunities and challenges before us, and explore new ways for us to best discharge our duties to the Court, clients, agencies, and organisations we serve.”

Sarah also issued another timely reminder about the growing threat of cyber attacks.

“Owing to our area of practice, we know that cyber attacks on government departments and agencies remain a constant threat – and consistently make headlines,” she said.

“The impacts on government, public servants and the wider community are keenly felt for sustainable periods – all while cyber criminals continually employ new and more insidious methods to attempt to breach our best defences.

“Earlier this month, the State Government introduced legislation via the Information Privacy and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to establish a mandatory data breach notification scheme for government agencies, as recommended by the Coaldrake Review.

“This modernised, fit-for-purpose legislation is designed to assist Queensland government agencies by improving transparency and accountability, boosting privacy protections available to individuals, and increasing protections for those whose personal information these agencies hold.”

The conference also heard from Privacy 108 founder Dr Jodie Siganto, and Stacey Gillespie from the Department of Home Affairs.

They gave expert analysis on the latest cyber security trends, insights and initiatives employed by public sector organisations.

Also Eleanor Dickens from Clayton Utz, outlined the key reforms to the Commonwealth Privacy Act, and Queensland’s Information Privacy Act, sharing what agencies can do to prepare for these fundamental changes.

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