Department of Education

All personal information collected by the Department of Education is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act). Further information about the Privacy Act is available on the Australian Privacy Commissioner’s website.

This Privacy Policy embodies the department’s commitment to protecting the privacy of personal information. It applies to personal information collected by the department and its contractors and agents (collectively, the department).

The department adheres to the requirements of the Information Privacy Principles (contained in the Privacy Act) and the Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government Website. These guidelines are issued by the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

Information the department collects and how it uses it

The department helps the Australian Government achieve its overall objective of quality education outcomes for all Australians through:

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

Generally, the department collects personal information in order to properly and efficiently carry out its functions. The department only uses personal information for the purpose(s) for which it was given to the department and for directly related purposes (unless otherwise required by or authorised by law) or as consented to by the individual concerned.

In addition to this general Privacy Policy, where more detailed information is needed to explain its privacy practices in relation to specific types of personal information, the department develops and provides separate privacy notices to describe how it will handle the personal information that it collects in relevant circumstances. For example, where the department asks you to provide personal information in relation to a particular programme administered by the department, the department will provide you with a privacy notice which details its practices in relation to that particular programme.

Communication – emails and electronic forms

The department’s servers may record your email address if you send the department a message online. Your email address will not be added to a mailing list unless you have provided it to the department in order to subscribe to one of its subscription services, such as the department’s Site Change Subscription Service.

Where you choose to send the department a completed electronic form that includes your personal details, the department collects personally identifiable information such as name, address and email address.

The information collected by email or electronic forms will be used only for the purpose for which you provided it, and the department will not disclose it unless one of the circumstances described below under the heading Information Sharing has been satisfied. For those who do not wish to use the internet, the department provides alternative ways of providing information, for example forms may be printed and lodged by post.

Log information (browsing)

When you use the department’s online services, its 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.


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 the department’s website server whenever you visit it again. The department 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 the department’s cookies.

Google Analytics

The department uses Google Analytics to collect information about visitors to its 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. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser.

Access and alteration of records containing personal information

When you provide personal information in relation to the department’s services, the department will allow you access to your personal information and will correct your personal information if it is inaccurate (subject to restrictions on such access or alteration of records under the applicable provisions of any law of the Commonwealth).

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

Information sharing

The department only discloses personal information to third parties in the following circumstances:

  • where you are reasonably likely to have been aware, or made aware by way of a privacy notice, that your personal information is usually passed to the relevant parties
  • where you have consented to the disclosure of your personal information
  • where we believe on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your life or health or that of another person
  • where the disclosure is required or authorised by or under law
  • where the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of criminal law or a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of public revenue.

Information security

The department takes all reasonable steps:

  • to protect the personal information held in its possession against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification, disclosure or misuse
  • to ensure that, where it has given personal information to a contractor (that carries out a service for the department), the contractor complies with the Information Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act.

Data integrity

The department takes reasonable steps to make sure that the personal information it collects and stores is accurate, relevant, up-to-date, complete and not misleading.


The department regularly reviews its compliance with this policy. If you have any questions or complaints about privacy or confidentiality, or if you wish to access or amend your personal information, please email the department at or write to:

Privacy Contact Officer
Legal and Investigations Group
Location C12MT1
Department of Education
GPO Box 9880
Canberra ACT 2601.

Changes to this policy

Please note that this Privacy Policy may change from time to time.

Changes to the Privacy Act 1988

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 was enacted in late 2012. One of the amendments this makes to the Privacy Act is to replace the existing Information Privacy Principles with new Australian Privacy Principles. The new Australian Privacy Principles commence in March 2014.  Over the coming months, the department will be reviewing its Privacy Policy to ensure compliance with the new legal requirements before they commence in March 2014.

Further information

The department is required to submit a Personal Information Digest to the Australian Privacy Commissioner each year which outlines, amongst other things, the sorts of records of personal information that the department holds. The department’s Personal Information Digest is available from the Australian Privacy Commissioner’s website.