Standing Committee on Economics Chair Tim Wilson (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

The House of Representatives economics committee has been caught up in a massive breach of privacy, having accidentally published the filled-out witness forms — including emails and phone numbers — of members from the federal banking watchdog set to appear before the committee next week.

Crikey noticed the breach after trying to download a media release about the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) planned appearance before the Standing Committee on Economics this coming Monday.

Instead, the file contained the Hansard Witness Forms completed by six senior APRA staff.

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Crikey alerted the committee secretariat to the privacy breach, who yelled “Oh, CRIKEY!” (yes, really).

The file has since been removed from the committee’s website.

APRA is the independent statutory authority that supervises institutions across banking, insurance, and superannuation and promotes financial system stability in Australia.

The regulator emerged from the banking royal commission with its reputation somewhat tarnished, and has since announced efforts to work more closely with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to oversee financial institutions’ governance and compliance.

Monday’s hearing is slated to discuss APRA’s 2019 Annual Report, but is expected to become a platform for discussing the recent Westpac money-laundering scandal.

Committee chair Tim Wilson said — in what we can only guess to be the press release the committee intended to upload to its website — that the committee wants to further question APRA on “its performance and operation and, in particular, how it is implementing the recommendations of the Hayne Royal Commission and the APRA capability review”.

“The Committee will scrutinise APRA on how it promotes financial stability through the prudential regulation and supervision of Authorised Deposit taking Institutions, insurers and superannuation licensees, and other related issues,” Wilson added.

Perhaps the committee will be the ones under scrutiny in light of today’s privacy breach?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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