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The Australian Institute of Health and Wealth and Welfare (AIHW) was created under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 (AIHW Act). We are an independent statutory authority, governed by a Board and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Minister for Health. We aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through providing, supporting the development of, and publishing high quality health and welfare information and statistics.
For more information about the AIHW, see the 'About' page on our website.
If you would like a printed copy of this policy, please contact our Privacy Officer (details at the end of this policy) and we will provide it free of charge.
The personal information we hold is protected by the Privacy Act.
Additionally, section 29 of the AIHW Act requires us to ensure that certain information is kept confidential. It is a criminal offence for AIHW staff, or anyone working with, or receiving information from, the AIHW to disclose 'information concerning a person' except as permitted by a few strict exceptions listed in the Act.
'Information concerning a person' is similar to personal information but is broader: it includes identifiable information about bodies corporate and people who have died, whereas the Privacy Act protects only information about living people.
Further information on privacy at AIHW, including links to our two brochures Safeguarding your privacy and Privacy at the AIHW, can be found on the 'Privacy of data' page on our website.
We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information in order to carry out our functions, which are described in section 5 of the AIHW Act. In summary, we:
At all times we try to collect only the personal information we need to carry out a particular function or activity as required or permitted by law. We collect personal information for both statistical and non-statistical reasons.
We collect personal information for the statistical purposes described in our functions. These include:
More information on the types of data and information held by AIHW is available on the Data page of our website.
We collect personal information for non-statistical purposes such as:
In performing our functions, we collect personal information either:
Importantly, while we collect most of our information indirectly, the majority of it is not personal information, as it has been de-identified before being provided to us for statistical purposes.
We use a variety of methods to collect this information, including:
Any emails attaching or containing data are encrypted and sent via a secure messaging system.
We collect personal information of the following types when performing our functions:
We also collect and hold some sensitive information, most commonly:
We collect and store personal information securely. Electronic and paper records containing your personal information are stored and protected in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) and managed in accordance with Australian Government records management requirements.
These broader requirements are supported by many internal policies and procedures regarding:
All our staff and contractors are required to sign confidentiality deeds before being granted access to the data we hold. We only grant our staff with access to a particular data collection-whether it contains personal information or not-when they need access to it to perform their duties.
We only use personal information for the purposes for which it was given to us - that is, for purposes related to our functions in the AIHW Act. We must comply with both the Privacy Act and the AIHW Act when considering whether to use or disclose information which might reasonably allow a person to be identified.
We do not generally send or disclose any personal information-particularly information in our data collections-overseas. However, there are limited circumstances where overseas companies are involved in activities conducted on our website. For more information, see the 'Our Website' section of this policy.
We may disclose your personal information where:
Law permits us to release personal information in certain circumstances:
As it plays an important part in both exceptions, an explanation of our Ethics Committee's role is provided below.
Section 16 of the AIHW Act requires us to appoint and maintain an AIHW Ethics Committee. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Ethics Committee Regulations 1989 establish our Ethics Committee's membership and functions. One of these functions is to determine, on ethical grounds, whether identifiable data-data that contains personal information or 'information concerning a person'-should be released for a specific purpose. The committee can impose any conditions or restrictions on release of the data that it considers appropriate.
The Committee considers applications:
The Ethics Committee considers a range of issues in deciding applications. These include compliance with section 95 of the Privacy Act and the AIHW Act (in particular section 29). The Committee also has regard to the Guidelines under s. 95 of the Privacy Act and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, both issued by the NHMRC.
More information on our ethics committee is available on the AIHW Ethics Committee page on our website.
We monitor use of our website to improve it and to deliver better services to you.
When you browse our website, we will collect the following information about your visit for statistical purposes:
We will only use your browsing information to improve our website, products and services for your use.
We use Google Analytics, a US-based service, to analyse browsing information and produce reports on how visitors use our website. Google may transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google stores information across multiple countries. For further information see Google Data Centres and Google Locations.
Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.
We use PayPal, a US-based service, to collect payments for our products and services via our website.
We use SurveyMonkey, a US-based service, to conduct feedback surveys and polls on our products, services and website.
Note that when you use a social media forum to make contact with us, the social media provider and its partners may collect and hold personal information overseas.
We understand that the freedom to remain anonymous (not give your name) or use a pseudonym (another name or nickname) is an important part of privacy. Generally, you can contact and interact with us anonymously or using a pseudonym if you choose. This applies particularly when you a making a general inquiry, but may also be possible in other circumstances.
However, in some circumstances this may not be possible or practical. For example, we may need your name, contact details and enough information about a particular matter in order to fairly and efficiently handle and respond to your request, complaint or application, or to act on your report. If this is the case, we will inform you and explain why.
You have the right to request access to personal information we hold about you. If that personal information is incorrect or outdated, you can request that it be corrected.
Please contact our Privacy Officer (details below) to request access to your personal information, or to request its correction.
We are committed to protecting your privacy. We consider any accidental or unauthorised disclosure of personal information to be a serious matter and will deal with it promptly.
If you consider that we may have breached your privacy or our privacy obligations, you may either contact us in the first instance, or you may choose to contact the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner.
If you have a privacy complaint, you should contact our Privacy Officer in the first instance (see contact details at the end of this policy).
We will respond to your complaint or request promptly if you provide your contact details. We are committed to quick and fair resolution of any complaints and will ensure your complaint is taken seriously. If the matter is complex and the investigation takes longer than expected, we will keep you informed regarding when you will receive a response.
You also have the option of contacting the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner if you believe we have breached your privacy. You may do this either:
However, if you make a complaint directly to the Privacy Commissioner rather than to us, the Privacy Commissioner may recommend that you try to resolve the complaint with us first.
Please contact us if you wish to:
Post: Privacy OfficerAustralian Institute of Health and WelfareGPO Box 570Canberra, ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6244 1000