Privacy statement


In accordance with the Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government Websites issued by the Australian Privacy Commissioner, the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) provides the following privacy statement.

Our policy is to respect and protect the privacy of our users. This policy statement tells you how we collect information and how we use it. With respect to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information*, DSS follows the Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government Websites issued by the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

As a general rule, we do not collect personal information about you when you visit our website. You can generally visit our website without telling us who you are or revealing other personal information, unless you choose to provide such information to us. The information we receive depends upon what you do when visiting our website.

* The use of the term 'personal information' in this privacy statement means any information from which your identity is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained.

Site visit data

DSS delivers its websites through an external service provider.

If you visit our website to read or download information, our Internet service provider records, through our log files, the following information for statistical purposes:

  • your server's address
  • the name of the top level domain from which you access the Internet (for example: .gov, .com, .edu, .org, .au, .nz etcetera)
  • the date and time of your visit to the website
  • the pages you accessed, documents downloaded and search terms used
  • the address of the referring website (for example, the previous website that you visited), and
  • the type of browser and operating system you are using

The above information does not identify you personally and you remain anonymous. This information is provided by your browser and will be used for statistical and development purposes only. Analysis of this information assists with the improvement of this website.

No attempt will be made to identify users or their browsing activities except, in the unlikely event of an investigation of abuse or a security incident. The data will not be disclosed to any external agencies except in the case where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect the Internet service provider's logs.

This website contains links to other websites. DSS is not responsible for the content and privacy practices of other websites and encourages you to examine each website's privacy policies and make your own decisions regarding the reliability and correctness of material and information found.


A cookie is a small file that is sent to your web browser from a web server when you access information on a website. It is stored on your computer's hard drive. A cookie is set when you enter the website and is only valid during the session.

The staff who operate DSS websites are subject to the Privacy Act 1988. This Act lays down strict privacy safeguards that Commonwealth Government departments and agencies must observe in handling personal information.

Collection of personal information

Your email address will only be recorded if you choose to contact us. It will only be used for the purpose for which you have provided it and will not be added to a mailing list. We will not use your email address for any other purpose, and will not disclose it, without your consent.

When completing the website's feedback forms, we may request your name, email address, telephone or facsimile number. These details are only used to respond to your message. We will not use your details for any other purpose and they will not be provided to any other organisation.

If we ask you for any other personal information we will tell you how we intend to use that personal information if you choose to give it to us. If at any time you believe we have not adhered to the principles referred to in this privacy statement or have any other comments on these principles, please contact us.

Security of information

DSS recognises the insecure nature of email. While every effort to maintain your confidentiality is taken, we are unable to guarantee the privacy of information transmitted via this system.

Your personal information is protected under the confidentiality and secrecy provisions contained within social security, disability, child support and family assistance law. These laws prohibit any person from accessing, using or disclosing any personal information in the possession of DSS except when performing their duties in accordance with these laws or in specific situations permitted by the law. Your personal information will not be made available to any person or agency unless the law permits or your permission is given. Penalties apply to those who fail to observe these provisions.

Before you consider transmitting any confidential information over the Internet, you should first contact DSS to seek its agreement to the application of the 'confidential' classification to the information you wish to provide. When DSS agrees to treat your personal information as 'confidential' it will receive the appropriate level of security.

While DSS endeavours to provide a secure Internet environment, please note that the privacy of your personal information cannot be guaranteed if you choose to transmit that information over the Internet.

If you do not wish to contact us via the Internet, DSS provides alternative ways to obtain and provide information. Please contact DSS by telephone or post if you have concerns about the security of your email message. When you telephone the Department, you can request access to DSS facsimile numbers.

Related information

Copyright & disclaimer

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