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Factsheet FIP02 - Privacy

Purpose

This Factsheet outlines how your personal information is protected under the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) and summarises how DVA meets its obligations under the Privacy Act when collecting, storing, using and disclosing personal information.

How is my personal information protected?

The Privacy Act contains rules on how Australian government agencies and organisations handle your personal information. DVA is bound by the Privacy Act and the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs outline how DVA collects, stores, uses and discloses personal information. The APPs also give you a right to access and correct the personal information DVA holds about you. 

DVA's Privacy Policy

DVA’s Privacy Policy contains detailed information about how DVA manages personal information, including the following:

  • the kinds of personal information that we collect and hold about you
  • how we collect your personal information
  • how we hold your personal information
  • the purposes for collecting, holding, using and disclosing your personal information
  • how you may access your personal information held by us and correct that information where it is incorrect
  • how you may make a complaint about the way we collect, hold, use or disclose personal information, and how we will deal with privacy related complaints; and
  • whether we will (or are likely to) disclose your personal information to overseas recipients and the countries where such recipients may be located.

DVA’s Privacy Policy can be accessed on the Privacy page of the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au/privacy.htm or by contacting DVA General Enquiries (see details at the end of this Factsheet).

When can DVA collect my personal information?

Personal information about you may be collected by DVA from you, your representative or a third party, for example another government department. DVA will only collect personal information when it is reasonably necessary for one or more of the Department’s functions or activities.

DVA will collect sensitive information, including health information, with your consent and where the information is reasonably necessary for or directly related to DVA’s functions or activities.  

What must DVA do when collecting my personal information?

When DVA collects your personal information, DVA is required to inform you of a number of matters. These include:

  • the purpose for which your information is being collected
  • any person or body to whom we usually disclose the information; and
  • whether your personal information will be disclosed to overseas recipients.

Generally, this information is on forms and applications and is also available on the DVA website or on request.

How does DVA store my personal information?

DVA stores personal information in a variety of formats, including in paper and electronic form. DVA takes all reasonable steps to protect personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss, as well as unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. All personal information is stored securely and access is restricted to employees, contractors and service providers who require access to personal information to perform their duties.

When can DVA use and disclose my personal information?

DVA generally uses and discloses the personal information it holds for the primary purpose for which the information was collected. For example, where a person provides DVA with their personal information in order to make a claim, DVA will use or disclose that information to process the claim.

DVA will only use or disclose personal information for a secondary purpose as permitted by the Privacy Act. Some examples are:

  • where the person to whom the information relates has consented to the use or disclosure
  • where the person would reasonably expect the use or disclosure to occur; or
  • where the use or disclosure is undertaken for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence.

The DVA Privacy Policy has further information on when secondary uses or disclosures may occur.

How can I access or correct personal information DVA holds about me?

You have a right under the Privacy Act to access personal information DVA holds about you (subject to certain exceptions). You also have the right to request corrections to your personal information if you consider the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.

DVA’s Privacy Policy outlines the processes for seeking correction of and access to your personal information.

You may also access your personal information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or, in some cases, under DVA’s portfolio legislation. For more information about accessing documents, see Factsheet FIP01 Access to Information.

How is my personal information managed in the processing of social security claims?

As DVA processes some claims under the Social Security Act 1991 (Social Security Act), additional confidentiality provisions apply to the collection, use and disclosure of the information collected for the purposes of processing these claims. These provisions operate alongside the Privacy Act.

How is my tax file number protected?

The Privacy Act also protects the use of your tax file number (TFN). Under the Privacy Act, DVA is required to only use your TFN for tax related purposes, to keep TFNs secure, to restrict access to authorised staff and only release TFNs in accordance with taxation laws.

While you are not required to provide your TFN in all situations, quotation of TFNs is a condition of receipt of most Australian Government assistance payments, including DVA income support payments and permanent impairment payments.

Your TFN may be used for data-matching purposes. Data-matching between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and assistance agencies such as the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) and DVA is regulated under the Data-Matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990. This Act authorises agencies to compare personal information they hold to ensure tax, pensions, benefits and other payments are being paid correctly.

Under the Privacy Act, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is responsible for issuing guidelines to protect privacy, investigating complaints and monitoring the way agencies like DVA conduct data-matching programs.

I think my privacy has been breached, how do I make a complaint?

If you believe DVA has breached your privacy rights, you may contact DVA through the following:

Manager, Feedback Management Team

Department of Veterans' Affairs

GPO Box 9998

BRISBANE QLD 4001

or email Privacy Inbox Email Address: privacy@dva.gov.au

Please include a description of what has happened and how you feel it has impacted on you. If you are dissatisfied with the way DVA handles your privacy-related complaint, you may contact the OAIC.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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28 June 2018