Coroner wants privacy changes post-Lindt

Tom Rabe

The NSW government is considering watering down health privacy legislation in the name of counter-terrorism following an inquest into the Sydney Cafe siege.

Coroner Michael Barnes found two current pieces of NSW health privacy legislation had the potential to "impinge" upon domestic spy agency ASIO's ability to access information on people that could pose a terrorist threat.

The coroner handed down 44 recommendations when delivering his findings on Wednesday.

One suggested the NSW government consider amending both the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act.

"The current limitations on information disclosure to ASIO contained in NSW privacy legislation may, in certain circumstances, not cater well for identification and assessment of present terrorism threats," the corner's report says.

Asked if he supported a change to the current health privacy laws in NSW, Health Minister Brad Hazzard told AAP the government was "thoroughly and carefully" considering Mr Barnes' recommendations.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association said doctors would discuss the proposed changes before making any public statement.

Mr Barnes also recommended changes to the Australian Psychological Society's code of ethics.

At present psychologists can only disclose information to authorities if a patient identifies a specific person as a target for political violence.

The coroner recommended the psychology body confer with the commonwealth auditor-general and ASIO and consider amending a clause in their code of ethics.

The society told AAP on Thursday it will analyse the coroner's findings and recommendations over the coming weeks and that will inform its upcoming review of its code.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley on Wednesday said he'd be "inclined to be supportive" of the proposed changes.

"I'll always come down, on balance, on the side of community safety and national security," Mr Foley told reporters.

"We'll need to have a closer look at all of the detailed recommendations there, including that one, but I have to say if you're asking me for an initial reaction to that, I would always inclined to err on the side of community safety."