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.
- 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.
- 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
The following information is provided to comply with the department’s obligation under Rule 14(1) of the Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (TFN Rule).
Purpose of collection
A tax file number (TFN) is a unique identifier issued by the Commissioner of Taxation. The department may collect TFNs 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.
- to administer child care financial assistance payments.
You are not legally obliged to quote your TFN but there may be financial consequences where you chose not to quote it.
Prohibitions and penalties
Certain Commonwealth legislation prohibits the collection, recording, use and disclosure of TFN information. Relevantly:
- the TFN Rule and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (TAA) contain prohibitions on:
- requiring, requesting or collecting TFN information for unauthorised purposes (TFN Rule 8(1) and subsection 8WA(1) of the TAA).
- recording, using or disclosing TFN information unless permitted under taxation, personal assistance or superannuation law (TFN Rules 9 and 10; and subsection 8WB(1) of the TAA).
A breach of either sections 8WA and 8WB of the TAA is punishable by a fine of 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment or both. NOTE: As at 31 July 2017, 1 penalty unit is equal to $210.
- The A New Tax System (Family Assistance)(Administration) Act 1999 (the Family Assistance Administration Act) and Child Care Act 1972 (the Child Care Act) are both personal assistance laws within the definition contained in TFN Rule 6(2). These Acts contain prohibitions on the making of a record, disclosure, use, solicitation or supply of information that is protected information – which includes TFNs (sections 163 – 167 of the Families Assistance Administration Act and sections 12K, 12L, 12M, 12Q, 12R and 12S of the Child Care Act). These offences are punishable by two years imprisonment. There are exceptions permitting the collection, use or disclosure of protected information in limited circumstances, as outlined under Part 6 of the Family Assistance Administration Act, and Part IIIA of the Child Care Act.
- The Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) is a taxation law within the definition contained in TFN Rule 6(2). In collecting, recording, using and disclosing tax file numbers under HESA the department, the Australian Taxation Office, higher education providers and VET providers must not contravene sections 8WA and 8WB of the TAA.
If you would like further information about protections surrounding tax file numbers you may wish to consult:
- The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website (https://oaic.gov.au/privacy-law/privacy-act/tax-file-numbers).
- The TFN Rule which regulates the collection, storage, use, disclosure, security and disposal of individuals. The TFN Rule is available on the Federal Register of Legislation website (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L00249).
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.
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.
Links to External Websites
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.
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.
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.
If you have any enquiries or complaints about privacy, or if you wish to access or correct your personal information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Privacy Contact Officer
People, Communication and Legal Group
Department of Education and Training
GPO Box 9880
Canberra ACT 2601.
Last updated: 19 October 2015