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Your Last Opportunity To Opt-Out Of My Health Record Is Here

Labor will push to extend the opt-out deadline for the controversial My Health Record system by 12 months.

The opposition will seek crossbench support to extend government legislation, which is due to be debated on Wednesday, to impose new penalties for those who misuse the system and strengthen privacy protections.

About four per cent of Australians (1.147 million) have so far opted out of the electronic health record system, while more than 300,000 have opted in during the opt-out period which ends on Thursday.

However, the final opt-out figure is expected to hit 10 per cent.

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said My Health Record promised huge benefits for people which participated, but they had been jeopardised by the Liberals shifting away from Labor's opt-in model.

"Their botched rollout has seriously undermined public trust in this important reform and it's going to take time to rebuild it," Ms King said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, Labor and the Greens teamed up to pass a motion calling for the government to extend the opt-out period.

Ms King said the current opt-out period would end before the government could pass legislation with extra privacy protections.

"The My Health Record opt-out period must not end until the clean-up legislation has passed the parliament."

She said the 12-month extension would also give the government time to reach Australians with a new public information campaign.

But Liberal senator Jane Hume said Australians have already had a "significant period" to opt-out of the initiative and will still be able to get rid of their record once the opt-out period lapses.

"At any point in time, you can remove yourself from the My Health Record program and you can delete your file, and it will be deleted permanently," she told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Health Minister Greg Hunt argues there have been no cases of misuse of information in the six years the system has operated, but the government was willing to provide further protections.

Under the changes, people found guilty of improper use of My Health Record would face up to five years in jail, instead of two, and the maximum fine would more than double to $315,000.

Victims of domestic violence would also be better protected, with abusive former partners banned from accessing their child's records.


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