As an Australian Government entity, Geoscience Australia (we, our, us) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), which regulates how entities collect, use, disclose and store personal information, including sensitive information, and how individuals may access and correct records containing their personal information.
Geoscience Australia respects the right to privacy under the Privacy Act and complies with Privacy Act requirements in relation to the collection and management of personal information.
What personal information we collect
Geoscience Australia collects personal information that is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, its functions and activities. We will only use and disclose your personal information for the purposes it was collected and in accordance with the Privacy Act.
The type of personal information we may collect includes, but is not limited to:
- mailing and/or street address
- email address
- telephone contact number
- facsimile number
- age and/or birth date
- profession, occupation and/or job title
- sensitive information as defined by the Privacy Act (such as information about ethnicity, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual preference etc.)
- photographic images and/or pictorial representations
- the products and services you have purchased or which you have enquired about, together with any additional information necessary to deliver those products and services and to respond to your enquiries
- cookie and clickstream data (only limited personal information may be collected via cookies and clickstream data. Individuals who do not wish to receive cookies may disable this function on their web browser)
- any additional information relating to you that you provide to us directly through our websites or indirectly through use of our websites, through our representatives or otherwise
- information you provide to us through our service centre, customer surveys or visits by our representatives from time to time.
Business information provided to us will not ordinarily fall within the definition of personal information under the Privacy Act but it may do so when the business information relates to sole traders and partnerships. Business information may also contain some personal information.
We understand that from time to time you may not want to provide this information to us; you may withhold providing your personal information. However, doing so may mean that we are not able to provide you with the products and services you require, or a high level of service. In circumstances where it will be impracticable for us to deal with you anonymously or through the use of a pseudonym, we will ordinarily request you to identify yourself to enable us to appropriately action your request and carry out our functions and activities.
How we collect your personal information
When collecting personal information, we may collect it in ways including, but not limited to:
- directly from you, through your access and use of our website and web based channels, including via clickstream data and cookies
- during conversations with our representatives via telephone and in person
- through written correspondence with you, including correspondence via email
- when you complete an application or form.
From time to time, we may also collect personal information from third parties including, but not limited to:
- other government entities
- law enforcement agencies
- credit reporting agencies
- service providers to Geoscience Australia.
Geoscience Australia will only collect your personal information from a third party or a private source:
- if you consent
- if we are required or authorised to collect the information under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order, or
- if it is reasonable or practicable for us to collect information in this way.
In limited circumstances Geoscience Australia may receive personal information about third parties from individuals who contact us or supply us with personal information belonging to others in the documents they provide. This is referred to as 'unsolicited personal information'. In these circumstances we will consider whether Geoscience Australia could have collected the information had it solicited the information, and will handle it in accordance with the Privacy Act.
Why we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information
We collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information to:
- identify you
- provide products and services to you and to send communications requested by you
- answer enquiries, and provide information or advice about existing and new products or services
- provide you with access to protected areas of our website
- assess the performance of the website and to improve the operation of the website
- conduct business processing functions
- update our records and keep your contact details up-to-date
- process and respond to any feedback made by you
- conduct planning, product or service development; program evaluation; quality control and research
- provide information to our contractors or service providers to enable them to provide our products and services to you
- comply with any Australian law; orders of courts or tribunals; any rule, regulation, lawful and binding determination, decision or direction of a regulator; or in cooperation with any governmental authority of any country (or political sub-division of a country).
To whom and why we may disclose your information
The third parties we may disclose your personal information to and the reasons for doing so include, but are not limited to:
- our employees, contractors or service providers for the purposes of operating our website or functions, fulfilling requests by you, and to otherwise provide information, products and services to you. Our contractors or service providers may include, without limitation:
- web hosting providers
- IT systems administrators
- cloud computing services
- mailing houses or couriers
- payment processors
- data entry service providers
- electronic network administrators
- debt collectors
- professional advisors such as accountants, solicitors, business advisors and consultants.
- suppliers and other third parties with whom we have commercial relationships, for business, marketing, research and related purposes
- other Commonwealth, state or territory government departments and agencies where it is authorised by law or is established practice
- any organisation for any authorised purpose with your express consent.
We may disclose personal information to third party suppliers and service providers located overseas for some of these purposes. We take reasonable steps to ensure that overseas recipients of your personal information do not breach the privacy obligations relating to your personal information. However, it may be subject to local legislation.
Geoscience Australia complies with its cloud computing obligations in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Attorney-General. For further information, please refer to the Information Security Management Guidelines.
Once Geoscience Australia receives information from you, the information is maintained in a secure environment. Your personal information will not be released unless the law permits it or your permission is granted.
We take reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is protected from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We may hold your information in either electronic or hard copy form. Personal information is destroyed or de-identified when no longer needed in accordance with the requirements of the Archives Act 1983.
However, as our website is linked to the Internet, we cannot provide assurance regarding the security of transmission of information you communicate to us. We also cannot guarantee that the information you supply will not be intercepted while being transmitted over the Internet. Any personal information or other information which you send to us is transmitted at your own risk.
If you have concern in this regard, we have other ways of obtaining and providing information (e.g. mail, telephone and facsimile facilities are available).
How you can access and correct your personal information
You may request access to any personal information we hold about you at any time by contacting us, using the contact information below. Where we hold information that you are entitled to access, we will provide you with suitable means of accessing it (e.g. by mailing or emailing it to you). We will not charge you for providing the information to you, or for the costs of making any corrections to your personal information.
If you believe that personal information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request to have it amended. We will consider whether the information requires amendment. In the unlikely event that we do not agree that there are grounds for amendment, we will give you written notice of the reasons for the refusal within 30 days of receipt of your request, together with information about mechanisms available to seek review if you do not agree with our decision.
There may be instances where we cannot grant you access to the personal information we hold. For example, we may need to refuse access if required or authorised to refuse access under Commonwealth legislation. If that happens, we will give you written notice of the reasons for the refusal within 30 days of receipt of your request, together with information about how you can complain about our refusal if you wish to do so.
How to contact us about a possible breach of privacy
If you believe that we have breached your privacy, please contact us using the contact information below and provide details of the incident so that we can investigate it.
When we receive a complaint, we will conduct internal enquiries into the possible breach. We will deal with your complaint as quickly as possible and will keep you informed of its progress. Once we have completed our internal enquiries, you will be advised of the outcome in writing.
If you are not happy with the response provided by us, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Information on how to make a complaint can be found on the OAIC website.
Requests and complaints will be treated confidentially. Our representative will contact you within a reasonable time after receipt of your complaint to discuss your concerns and outline options regarding how they may be resolved. We will aim to ensure that your complaint is resolved in a timely and appropriate manner. Please contact our Privacy Officer at:
Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Drive
Symonston ACT 2609
PO Box 378
Canberra ACT 2601
General Enquiries: 1800 800 173
Facsimile: 02 6249 9999