Privacy

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 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 applicable guidelines issued to agencies 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 the personal information we hold. The complete privacy policy can be found here:

Department of Education, Skills and Employment Complete Privacy Policy

The privacy policy provides more detailed information about:

  • the types of personal information that we collect, hold, use and disclose;
  • our personal information handling practices;
  • our authority to collect your personal information, why it may be held by us, how it is used and how it is protected;
  • whether we are likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients and if possible, to whom;
  • how you can access your personal information, correct it if necessary and complain if you believe it has been wrongly collected or inappropriately handled.

You should read our privacy policy if you are:

  • a student;
  • an apprentice;
  • an employer;
  • a parent or guardian;
  • a child care service provider;
  • a registered training organisation;
  • a principal or teacher;
  • an academic or researcher;
  • a participant in a program or service delivered by us;
  • a contractor, grant recipient, 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;
  • 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, hold, use and disclose.

Information we collect and why we hold, use and disclose it

We are responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians:

  • access quality and affordable child care; early childhood education; school education; post-school; higher education; international education and academic research; skills and training; and
  • find and keep employment and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces.
  • We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for a variety of purposes, including:
  • performing our management, employment and personnel functions in relation to our staff and contractors;
  • performing our legislative and administrative functions;
  • policy development, research and evaluation;
  • data sharing or data integration with other Australian Government agencies, including but not limited to, data sharing or data integration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project and the Data Integration Partnership for Australia; 
  • complaints handling;
  • administering requests received by us under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) and the Privacy Act;
  • preventing, detecting, investigating or dealing with fraud or corruption against the Commonwealth;
  • program management;
  • maintaining effective working relationships with state and territory governments, non-government education authorities and providers, universities and other relevant stakeholders;
  • policy advice and other support to our Ministers;
  • contract management; and
  • management of correspondence with the public.

We only collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for a lawful purpose that is reasonably necessary or directly related to one or more of our functions or activities or where otherwise required or authorised by law.

We will only use your personal information for secondary purposes where we are able to do so in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Job Seekers

For information regarding the types of information collected and how this information may be used or shared in the jobactive program, please see the Privacy statement for jobactive participants.

Tax File Numbers

The following information is provided to comply with the department's obligation under subrule 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 programs we manage, including but not limited to the Higher Education Loan Programs, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, Trade Support Loans and VET Student Loans;
  • to make payments of salaries and wages to eligible employees and contractors; and
  • to administer child care financial assistance payments.

The department’s collection of TFNs is authorised under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Taxation Administration Act 1953. 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. Further information is available at part 2.3.2 of the department’s Complete Privacy Policy.

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.

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. Unless otherwise notified, 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

Cookies are used to maintain contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file stored by your web browser software on your computer when you access our website. Cookies allow us to recognise an individual web user as they browse our website.

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. You may disable cookies by adjusting the settings on your web browser, but if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of our website.

Collection and Analytics

We collect your information, including personal information, by a variety of software applications and services. These applications and services, including Google Analytics, use first-party cookies and JavaScript code to help analyse how users use the site.

The information collected includes when you accessed our website, how you accessed the site (for example, from a search engine, a link, an advertisement) and what you 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.

Demographic and interest reports may be generated including identifiers such as your age, gender, affinity categories (for example, education and training interests), in-market segments and other categories based on acquisition, behaviour, and conversions metrics. These reports may be used by the department to assist it make policy and program decisions.

You can prevent your information from being collected on our website by:

  • disabling/ refusing the use of cookies;
  • disabling JavaScript Opt-out Browser Add-on;
  • opting-out of Google Analytics; and
  • disabling location services on your browser/device.

Additional advice regarding how to protect yourself online can be found at Stay Smart Online.

Links to External Websites and Social Networking Services

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.

We also use social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram and Yammer to talk with the public and our staff. When you talk with us using these services we may collect your personal information to communicate with you and the public. The social networking service will also handle your personal information for its own purposes. These services have their own privacy policies. You can access the privacy policies for these services on their websites.

Disclosure of personal information overseas

We will on occasion disclose personal information to overseas recipients, but only where certain conditions are met, for example, you give your consent or the disclosure is otherwise authorised by law. The situations in which we may disclose personal information overseas include:

  • the publication on the internet of material which may contain personal information, such as departmental reports and other documents; photographs, video recordings and audio recordings; and posts and comments on our social media platforms;
  • the provision of personal information to overseas researchers or consultants;
  • the provision of personal information to recipients using a web-based service where data is stored on an overseas server, for example, the department may use Mailchimp for email subscriptions and SurveyMonkey for online surveys;
  • the provision of personal information to foreign governments and law enforcement agencies;
  • where recipients of departmental communications use an email account that stores data on an overseas server; and
  • where people post and comment on our social media platforms.

Information collected by our contractors

Under the Privacy Act we are required to take contractual measures to ensure that contracted service providers (including subcontractors) comply with the same privacy requirements applicable to us.

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.

It is also possible to access and correct documents held by us under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. For information on this, please contact our FOI Coordinator (contact details are available on the Freedom of Information page of our website).

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.

Privacy Impact Assessments

A privacy impact assessment (PIA) is a systematic assessment of a project that identifies the impact that the project might have on the privacy of individuals, and sets out recommendations for managing, minimising or eliminating that impact.

The Privacy (Australian Government Agencies - Governance) APP Code 2017 (Privacy Code) requires us to undertake a PIA in certain instances and to maintain a register of those PIAs from 1 July 2018. In accordance with the Privacy Code, we publish our Prvacy Impact Assessment Register is detailed below.

Privacy Impact Assessment Register

The department’s Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) register has been prepared in accordance with section 15(1) of the Privacy (Australian Government Agencies – Governance) APP Code 2017.

PIAs completed by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment since its establishment on 1 February 2020*

*This register will be updated as PIAs are completed.

PIAs completed by the then Department of Education between 1 July 2018 and 31 January 2020

Title of PIA Completed
Proposed HESA and VSLA Amendments: impact on the TCSI solution December 2019
SEMS Project (myHELPbalance application and StEME December 2019
Trades Recognition Australia
Note: This PIA relates to a function that was transferred to the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business on 29 May 2019.
June 2019
NCCD Data Assurance Project May 2019
Schools Census Post-Enumeration Process December 2018
2018 Student Residential Address Collection September 2018
Schools Special Circumstances Application August 2018

PIAs completed by the then Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business between 1 July 2018 and 31 January 2020

Date Added Reference Program/Initiative Description
24/01/19 D19/59748 Case study library Case studies for media events and media articles
01/11/2019 D19/1839278 Salesforce Marketing Cloud procurement Online platform for use in New Employment Services Model
01/11/2019 D19/1839233 Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) Trades Recognition Australia assessment services
01/11/2019 D19/1839417 Use of Online Survey Tool Departmental online survey tool ‘Qualtrics’
01/11/2019 D19/1850510 Seasonal Workers Program Online Electronic administration of the Seasonal Worker Programme
19/12/2019 D19/2038120 NEIS Payroll and Administration Project Online collection of NEIS participant information
16/01/2020 D20/26185 New Template Deed of Agreement for the Seasonal Worker Programme Implementation of new template deed for SWP Approved Employers

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 Procedures.

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@dese.gov.au or write to:

Privacy Officer
Legal Services
Department of Education, Skills and Employment
LOC: C50MA10
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:

Last modified on [25|172]