Privacy Statement

General

The Department of Human Services is committed to protecting privacy of your personal information.The department endorses fair information handling practices and uses of information in compliance with its obligations under the Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). Personal information will be used only for the purpose/s intended and where the intention includes confidentiality, information will be treated as such unless otherwise required by law.

This Privacy Statement explains how your personal information (being information capable of identifying you as an individual) will be treated as you access and interact with this website. The practices outlined in this Privacy Statement are subject to any rights the department may have to handle personal information in accordance with the privacy legislation.

Collection of your personal information

The personal information we collect via this website may include:

  • the content of any electronic forms you submit via this website, requesting us to provide services or information, or take actions;
  • information submitted if you participate in an online survey; and
  • any messages or comments you submit to us via this website or to email addresses displayed on this website, which may include personal information such as name, email address and telephone number.

Email addresses provided via this site will only be used to respond to specific user queries and will not be added to any mailing lists, nor disclosed to any other party without users' knowledge and consent, unless required by law. Where personal information is collected directly from you on our web pages, a specific privacy notification can be viewed by clicking on the privacy statement tag at the bottom of the online form.

Web statistics data collection

Pages on the site may be coded with Google Analytics software. This is transparent to the user, as the software makes use of JavaScript code in the source HTML of the web page. This JavaScript stores a first-party cookie in your browser, which contains a unique identifier, and sends information to Google Analytics. This enables Google Analytics to track the number of unique visitors to the site. In no way does this unique identifier identify a user personally. We do not and will not marry any data collected by Google Analytics with any personal information.

While you can browse this website anonymously, without disclosing your personal information, we may not be able to provide the full range of services through this website if we are not provided with the information outlined above.

Use and disclosure of your personal information

Where we collect personal information from you via our website, a privacy disclaimer will indicate which third parties we might share your information with (if any). In addition to providing our services to you and carrying out your requests, we may use or disclose personal information that we collect about you for purposes including the following:

  • for the purpose that we have collected the information;
  • purposes related to our research, planning, product and service development, security and testing;
  • purposes connected with the operation, administration, development or enhancement of this website;
  • where we suspect that fraud or unlawful activity has been, is being or may be engaged in; and
  • any other purposes required or authorised by law.

We may share personal information within the Department of Human Services and with third parties. The types of third parties to whom we may disclose your personal information includes our contracted service providers who assist us in providing this website and delivering our services such as our community service partners, organisations who provide archival, auditing, professional advisory, banking, mailhouse, delivery, recruitment, call centre, information technology, research, utility and security services. We may also disclose your personal information to your authorised representatives or third parties acting on your behalf, for example your solicitor or interpreter.

If you have made an online application, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate Department of Human Services divisions or agency and any other third parties to whom your application relates or who can assist in processing your application and delivering the service to you.

Security

We have implemented technology and security policies, rules and measures to protect the personal information that we have under our control. However, you should be aware that there are risks in transmitting information across the Internet. So while we strive to protect such information, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information transmitted to us online and individuals do so at their own risk. Once any personal information comes into our possession, we will take reasonable steps to protect that information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. If you are concerned about conveying sensitive material to us over the Internet, you might prefer to contact us by telephone or mail. We will remove personal information from our system where it is no longer required (except where archiving is required and in order to fulfil our obligations under the Public Records Act 1973 (Vic)).

We take additional steps to protect the security of your personal information, such as strong 128-bit SSL encryption. Before using these facilities, you should ensure that you are using a web browser that supports 128-bit encryption. In many web browsers, you can confirm that your session is encrypted by the appearance of a locked padlock symbol located in the browser status bar at the foot of the browser.

Feedback, information request form and email

We may preserve the content of any feedback form, information request form, email or other electronic message that we receive. Any personal information contained in that message will only be used or disclosed in ways set out in this Website Privacy Statement. We will not use that information to add you to a mailing list without your consent.

Links to external websites

This Website Privacy Statement does not extend beyond this website.

When following links to other sites from this website, we recommend that you read the privacy statement of that site to familiarise yourself with its privacy practices.

Clickstream data

This website's web server automatically records non-personal clickstream data. To the extent that any clickstream data could make you identifiable, we will not attempt to identify you from clickstream data unless required by law or to investigate suspected improper activity in relation to the website or to assist in law enforcement.

The following clickstream data are automatically recorded by this website's web server for statistical and system administration purposes only:

  • your IP address;
  • your domain name (e.g. yahoo.com, gmail.com, etc)
  • the date and the time of your visit to the site;
  • the pages you accessed and files downloaded;
  • the address of the last site you visited;
  • your operating system;
  • the type of browser you are using.

Cookies

Like many sites, this website may use cookies from time to time.

Cookies are small data files that a website is able to place on a user's hard drive to record aspects of that user's experience of the website. For example, we may use cookies to record that a user visited a particular section of the website, that their browsing software was a particular version or to ensure that online applications and transactions do not require you to re-input information when moving between web pages. In this way, cookies can improve the operation of the website, and make the experience more efficient, more enjoyable or more personalised. Importantly, in depositing information on a user's computer and referring to it later in the same session (sessional) or on a subsequent visit (persistent), cookies do not need to identify the user or record any personal information.

The default settings of browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari may allow some or all cookies, but users can easily take steps to erase cookies from their hard-drive, block all cookies, or receive a warning before a cookie is stored. However, some parts of sites may not function fully for users that disallow cookies

Access and correction

To request access to or correction of your personal information held by the Department of Human Services, please contact us to find out about access and correction procedures.

It is policy in the Department of Human Services that, where appropriate, you should be able to request access to your personal information directly, without the need to make a formal application under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic). However, there are situations where it will not be appropriate to provide direct access to information, and you will be required to make an FOI application. (For example, where providing direct access would compromise the privacy of another person).

For information on making an FOI application please visit our Freedom of Information webpage.

Department of Human Services
Freedom of Information Officer
Postal Address: GPO BOX 4057, MELBOURNE, VIC 3001
Street Address: 50 Lonsdale Street, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
Tel: 03 9096 8449
Fax: 03 9096 8848
Email: dhsfoi@dhs.vic.gov.au

For information on how DHS manages privacy please contact:

Department of Human Services
Privacy Manager
Postal Address: GPO BOX 4057, MELBOURNE, VIC 3001
Street Address: 50 Lonsdale Street, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
Tel: 1300 884 706
Email: privacy@dhs.vic.gov.au

Please note: This privacy statement does not extend beyond this website. When linking or transferring to other third party sites from this website, we recommend that you read the privacy statement of that specific site.

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