Full privacy statement
This privacy statement applies to the australia.gov.au website only. It tells you how we collect information from you and how we use it. The full privacy statement was last updated on 26 February 2010 to include information about the new australia.gov.au.
The australia.gov.au website is managed by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) with help from service providers from both the public and private sectors. The australia.gov.au account has been developed with the assistance of the Department of Human Services.
australia.gov.au collects personal information that you choose to give us, for example your email address.
If you visit our site to read or download information, we record the following information for statistical purposes:
- Your server address and associated country
- Your top level domain name (eg .gov, .com, .edu, .org, .au, .nz etc)
- The pages you accessed and the documents you downloaded
- The search terms you used
- The date and time you visited the site
- The previous site you visited
- Your operating system (eg Windows, Mac)
- The type of browser you use (eg Internet Explorer).
We use Google Urchin to collect this information. Urchin is installed on our servers and, therefore, the anonymous website usage data is not stored offshore.
Cookies are pieces of information that a website can transfer to an individual's computer. We do not use persistent cookies. We only use session-based cookies for the single sign-on service and to gather anonymous website usage data to help us improve the structure and functionality of australia.gov.au. You can change your web browser settings to reject cookies or to prompt you each time a website wishes to add a cookie to your browser. Some functionality on the website may be affected by this.
We will not attempt to identify users or their browsing activities. However, there are some circumstances when we may need to disclose information that may be used to identify users to law enforcement authorities:
- where a law enforcement agency executes a warrant to inspect our records
- in the event of unlawful activity, e.g., if malicious attacks or threats of violence are made on the australia.gov.au website or its related services.
The australia.gov.au Account and government online account linking functionality has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Human Services (acting as our service provider). Linking your australia.gov.au Account to another government agency's online account does not give that government agency access to the information in your australia.gov.au Account or any other linked account.
When you create an australia.gov.au Account, you will be asked to provide a password and at least five secret questions and answers. A user ID will be automatically generated for you.
Additionally, Finance collects any information you choose to include in your australia.gov.au Account. This could include:
- Biographic details: name, email address,
- Geographic details: address
- Demographic details: e.g., farmer, student
Finance also logs account activity such as last login, attempted logins and password changes. You can see much of this in your account history.
Contact us and help
When you send us a message using the Contact us form, the following information is collected:
- Topic and your message
Additionally, you may choose to include your name and/or email address, and give permission for your message to be sent to the most relevant government agencies to help respond to your query.
australia.gov.au search service
Search terms are stored for reporting and service improvement purposes. Your searches are not linked to an identifier or your IP address. If you have an australia.gov.au account, you can use the subjects you stored in the “My Interests” area to ‘up-weight’ related search results.
Media release subscription service
When you subscribe to the australia.gov.au media release service, we collect your email address and any subjects or keywords you may have specified.
Surveys may be published on behalf of Finance or other Australian Government agencies. The agencies to which your survey responses will be provided are identified at the beginning of the survey.
Use of your personal information
We will only record your email address if you send us a message, you subscribe to a mailing list such as our media alert service or you include it in your australia.gov.au account. Any personal information you provide to us, including your email address will only be used or disclosed for the purpose for which you have provided it. Your personal information will not be added to a mailing list or used or disclosed for any other purpose without your consent.
We do not share information about you with other government agencies or other organisations without your permission unless it:
- is necessary to provide you with a service that you have requested;
- is required or authorised by law; or
- will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody's health.
If we ask you for personal information in order to provide you with a service that you have requested then we will tell you how we intend to use that personal information if you choose to give it to us.
We take steps to protect the personal information we hold against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure and against other misuse. These steps include storing electronic files in secure facilities, encryption of data, regular backups of data we hold, audit and logging mechanisms and physical access restrictions.
When no longer required, personal information is destroyed in a secure manner.
Access to your personal information
You may gain access to personal information about you that we hold. You can have us correct any errors or delete the information we have about you.
You may opt out of any further contact from us.
To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, we may have to gain evidence of your identity before we can give you access to information about you or change it.
If you have forgotten your username for your australia.gov.au account, we may not be able to help you regain access to your account. This is because we do not require any proof of identity to create an account. Your account will be deleted after 18 months of inactivity.
How to contact us
If at any time you believe we have not adhered to the principles referred to in this privacy statement or have any other comments, please contact us.
If you do not wish to send your comments by email then please write to the following postal address:Manager, australia.gov.au
Technology and Procurement Division,
Department of Finance and Deregulation
John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600
Obligations for Australian Government agencies
With respect to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, we are bound by the Information privacy principles of the Privacy Act 1988. We also follow the Guidelines for federal and ACT government websites issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has issued a number of guidelines, including the Guidelines to the information privacy principles, which apply to all Australian Government departments and agencies.
For more information about privacy obligations for Australian Government agencies please visit:
- Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
- Your privacy rights faqs
- Privacy Act 1988
- Information privacy principles under the Privacy Act 1988
- Guidelines for federal and ACT government websites
Multi-layered privacy notices
The multi-layered privacy notices format used by australia.gov.au takes up the recommendation of the Privacy Commissioner in Recommendation 19 and 20 of Getting in on the Act: The Review of the Private Sector Provisions of the Privacy Act 1988. These recommendations support the development of short form privacy notices.
Multi-layered privacy notices have also been endorsed by Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in 2003, further developed in the Berlin Memorandum, and endorsed in Opinion WP 100 by the Article 29 Committee of European Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.
Multi-layered privacy notices are based on the work of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership.
For more information about the multi-layered privacy notice format used in australia.gov.au please visit:
- Getting in on the Act: the review of the private sector provisions of the Privacy Act 1988
- Privacy notice resolution resources (International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners (25th : Sydney, 2003))
- Berlin privacy notices memorandum
- Data protection (European Commission)
- Centre for Information Policy Leadership