Privacy Act 1988.
Department of Agriculture, March 2014
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About this policy
- clearly communicate the personal information handling practices of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- enhance the transparency of the department’s operations, and
- give individuals a better and more complete understanding of the sort of personal information the department holds, and the way we handle that information.
Phone: (02) 6272 3933
Mail: Privacy, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, PO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601.
Any comments and/or suggestions will be reviewed and considered by the department’s privacy officers.
Our obligations under the Privacy Act
Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). As an Australian Government agency, we are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) in the Privacy Act which regulate how government agencies collect, use, store and disclose personal information, and how individuals may access and correct personal information held about them.
Personal information is defined in s 6(1) of the Privacy Act as ‘information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:
- whether the information or opinion is true or not, and
- whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not’.
What constitutes personal information will vary, depending on whether an individual can be identified or is reasonably identifiable in the particular circumstances. For example, personal information could include:
- a name or address
- bank account details
- photos or videos
- information about an individual’s mannerisms, their opinions or where they work.
Note: information does not have to include an individual’s name to be personal information. For example, in some cases, a date of birth and post code may be enough to identify a person.
Sensitive information is a subset of personal information with additional requirements under the Privacy Act.
Sensitive information is defined in the Privacy Act as information or an opinion about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices, or criminal record that is also personal information; health information about an individual, genetic information about an individual, biometric information that is to be used for the purpose of automated biometric verification/identification and biometric templates.
The kinds of personal information collected and held by the department
The department collects and holds a variety of personal information, as included in the table below.
- age and gender
- contact details (including address, phone and email addresses)
- bank account details
- photos, videos or audio of individuals
- employment details (including occupation, qualifications, CV and remuneration)
- education details (level of education, study assistance and courses)
- financial information (ABN)
(a subset of Personal information)
- racial or ethnic origin
- political opinion or association
- religious beliefs or affiliations
- philosophical beliefs
- trade or professional associations and memberships
- union membership
- criminal record
- health or genetic information
How the department collects and holds your personal information
How the department collects your personal information
When the department collects personal information about you, in the majority of cases, we will collect this information directly from you. However, there may be times where the department may collect personal information from your agent or a third party. If this occurs, such collection will be in accordance with the APPs.
The purposes for which the department collects, holds, uses and discloses your personal information
The purpose for the department collecting your personal information is important as it restricts how the department can use and disclose your personal information, unless an exception in the Privacy Act applies. Unless an exception applies, the department will:
- only use or disclose your personal information for the purpose it was collected, and
- notify you of this purpose at the time of collection, or as soon as practicable after collection.
The department will only use or disclose your personal information for another purpose where it is able to do so in accordance with the Privacy Act.
There are a number of general purposes for which the department may collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information.
How to access and seek correction of your personal information
Individuals have a right to request access to their personal information and to request its correction if it is inaccurate, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.
If you are an external client or stakeholder you should contact the relevant business area within the department, in writing, for access to or correction of your personal information. For example, applicants for a grant program should first contact the program administrator via email or letter. If you do not know which area of the department holds your personal information you can contact the department’s switch on 02 6272 3933. Alternatively, you can use the ‘contact us’ link on the department’s website.
Current and former departmental employees who wish to gain access to, or correct their personal information need to contact the People Services Branch (HR Assist) in the first instance. HR Assist can be contacted on 02 6272 3933 or via email at
How you can complain about the treatment of your personal information and how the complaint will be handled
You can make a complaint if you believe the department has breached the APPs or mishandled your personal information.
Privacy breaches can be caused by a variety of factors, affect different types of personal information and give rise to a range of actual or potential harm to individuals, agencies and organisations. Consequently, there is no single way of responding to a privacy breach. Each breach will need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. All complaints and alleged breaches will be investigated by a privacy officer and the complainant will be advised of the outcome.
The department’s privacy officers will investigate:
- concerns that the personal information contained in a record of a client, stakeholder or departmental officer has been mishandled
- any complaints and/or allegations about a breach of the APPs, and
- all privacy-related matters referred from the Privacy Commissioner within the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
In the first instance, any privacy concerns or complaints should be reported to the department’s privacy team. This can be done by:
Phone: 02 6272 3933
Mail: Privacy, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, PO BOX 858, Canberra ACT 2601.
If you are unhappy with the department’s response or reply, you also have the option of contacting the Privacy Commissioner within the OAIC. The Privacy Commissioner can be contacted on:
Phone: 1300 363 992
Mail: OAIC, GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001.
This site adheres to Commonwealth Government Internet security standards, including the Defence Signals Directorate guidelines.
Note: There is an inherent risk associated with the use of an insecure public network such as the World Wide Web. A user's transactions (including emails) may be viewed, intercepted, corrupted or modified by, or otherwise disclosed to, a third party. The Commonwealth cannot guarantee the security or integrity of any transaction over such a network, including personal or other private information transmitted via email to or from a Department email address (X@agriculture.gov.au). The Commonwealth is not liable in connection with the transmission of any such information (including as a result of negligence).
If you prefer to use an alternative means of delivery, you can send the information via the department's normal communications methods; i.e. mail, phone or fax. If you take this approach, please make it clear which part of the website you are responding to.
A variety of information is collected by using the department’s website and online services. Some of this may be personal information, which is summarised in the table below: