Privacy Policy

Department of Education and Training

The Department of Education and Training, its employees, contractors and agents (collectively, the department) is subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) and to the requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act.

We also adhere to the Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government Websites, issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Our privacy policy has been developed in accordance with APP 1 and embodies our commitment to protecting personal information. The complete privacy policy can be found here:

The privacy policy provides more detailed information about:

  • the types of personal information we collect and hold;
  • the methods by which we collect and hold personal information;
  • the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information;
  • how we manage personal information collected online;
  • whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients and the situations in which we may do so;
  • how you may access your personal information or seek the correction of such information; and
  • how you may complain about a possible breach of the APPs by us and how we will deal with your complaint.

You should read our privacy policy if you are:

  • a student;
  • an apprentice;
  • a parent or guardian;
  • a child care provider;
  • a principal or teacher;
  • an academic or researcher;
  • a participant in a program or service delivered by us;
  • a contractor, consultant, or supplier of goods or services to us;
  • an applicant for a grant or a tenderer for a contract provided by us;
  • a policy stakeholder who works with us;
  • a person whose information may be given to us by a third party, including other Australian Government agencies;
  • a Registered Training Organisation;
  • an entrant in a competition conducted by us;
  • a person seeking employment with us;
  • a current or past employee of the department; or
  • any other individual whose personal information we may collect or hold.

Information we collect and why we use it

We are responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians access quality and affordable childcare; early childhood education; school education; post-school, higher education; international education and academic research, through:

  • efficient national program management;
  • effective working relationships with state and territory governments, non-government education authorities and providers, universities and other providers of community groups and other stakeholders;
  • auditing, research and analysis in order to maintain, protect and improve our services; and
  • policy advice and other support to the Minister.

Generally, we collect personal information in order to properly and efficiently carry out one or more of our functions. We only use personal information for the purpose(s) for which it was given to us and for directly related purposes (unless otherwise required or authorised by or under law); as consented to by you or if a permitted general situation exists.

Tax File Numbers

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique identifier issued by the Commissioner of Taxation.  The department collects Tax File Numbers (TFN) for the following purposes:

  • to administer the Higher Education Loan Programs and Trade Support Loans
  • to make payments of salaries and wages to eligible employee types and contractors.

The Taxation Administration Act 1953 prohibits under law the collection, recording, use and disclosure of TFN information except in limited circumstances (sections 8WA and 8WB).  Unauthorised acts and practices relating to TFN information can result in penalties of up to 100 penalty units and imprisonment for 2 years.

Further information regarding the collection of TFNs can be found at Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Privacy Notices

In addition to our privacy policy, we may need to explain specific privacy practices in more detail at other times. In such circumstances we develop and provide separate privacy notices to describe how we will handle the personal information that we collect. For example, where we ask you to provide personal information in relation to a particular program that we administer, we will provide you with a privacy notice at the time of collection or as soon as practicable afterwards, which details our personal information handling practices in relation to that particular program.

Personal Information Holdings

We maintain, on an ongoing basis, a Personal Information Holdings document that explains the various types of personal information we collect and hold, what the information is used for and the third parties to whom the information is normally disclosed. Where applicable, the document also details where we are authorised to collect, use or disclose information under legislation relevant to our policies, programs and services.  A copy of the Personal Information Holdings document can be obtained from the Privacy Contact Officer whose details are below.

Electronic Communication

There are inherent risks associated with the transmission of information over the internet, including via email. You should be aware of this when sending personal information to us via email or via our website or social media platforms. If this is of concern to you then you may use other methods of communication with us, such as post, fax or telephone (although these also have risks associated with them).

We only record your email address when you send a message to us or subscribe to one of our mailing lists. Any personal information, including email addresses, will only be used or disclosed for the purpose for which it was provided.

Log information (browsing)

When you use our online services, our servers automatically record information that your browser sends whenever you visit a website. These server logs may include information such as your server address, your top level domain name (for example, .com, .gov, .au, .uk, etc), the date and time of visit to the site, the pages accessed and documents viewed, the previous sites visited, the browser type, the browser language, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.

Cookies

A cookie is a small file containing a string of characters to your computer that uniquely identifies your browser. It is information that your web browser sends back to our website server whenever you visit it again. We use cookies to ‘remember’ your browser between page visits. In this situation, the cookie identifies your browser, not you personally. No personal information is stored within our cookies.

Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics to collect information about visitors to our website. Google Analytics uses first-party cookies and JavaScript code to help analyse how users use the site. It anonymously tracks how visitors interact with this website, including how they have accessed the site (for example from a search engine, a link, an advertisement) and what they did on the site. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purposes of compiling reports on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. For some websites we administer (for example myskills.gov.au), Google Analytics Demographic and Interest Reporting is enabled. Demographic and interest reports may be generated including identifiers such as your age, gender, affinity categories (for example educational and training interests), in-market segments and other categories based on acquisition, behavior, and conversions metrics. These reports may be used by the department to assist it make policy and programme decisions. You can prevent your information from being collected by Google Analytics by refusing the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser or by installing the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Links to External Websites

Our website includes links to other websites. We are not responsible for the content and privacy practices of other websites. We recommend that you examine each website’s Privacy Policy separately.

Information collected by our contractors

We take contractual measures to ensure that where we have given personal information to a contractor (that carries out a service for us), the contractor complies with the APPs as if it was an agency.

Storage and Data Security

Storage of personal information (and the disposal of information when no longer required) is managed in accordance with the Australian Government’s records management regime.

We take all reasonable steps to protect the personal information held in our possession against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification, disclosure or misuse.

Data Quality

We take all reasonable steps to make sure that the personal information we collect and store is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant and not misleading.

Access to and alteration of records containing personal information

You have a right under the Privacy Act to access personal information we hold about you.

You also have a right under the Privacy Act to request corrections to any personal information that we hold about you if you think the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 also provides you with an opportunity to request access to documents in our possession. For more information about FOI please go to the Freedom of Information page.

For further detail, including a comparison of both access mechanisms and how you can make a request, please see our Guide to Accessing and Correcting Personal Information.

Complaints

If you think we may have breached your privacy you may contact us to make a complaint using the contact details below. In order to ensure that we fully understand the nature of your complaint and the outcome you are seeking, we prefer that you make your complaint in writing.

For further information about our complaint handling processes please see our Privacy Complaint Handling Policy.

Contact Us

If you have any enquiries or complaints about privacy, or if you wish to access or correct your personal information, please email us at privacy@education.gov.au or write to:

Privacy Contact Officer
People, Communication and Legal Group
Department of Education and Training
GPO Box 9880
Canberra ACT 2601.

Changes to this privacy policy

Please note that the privacy policy may change from time to time.

Last updated: 19 October 2015