This summary sets out the key points about how the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) handles personal information.
We collect, hold, use, disclose and store personal information to carry out our functions or activities in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and the Privacy (Australian Government Agencies – Governance) APP Code 2017(the Code).
We may collect or hold personal information that is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, the performance of our functions and activities. We may also collect or hold sensitive information such as information about your health, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, association, memberships, religious or philosophical beliefs, criminal history and genetic or biometric information.
We collect personal information for many purposes, including to providing advice to government, process your passport application, provide consular assistance and notarial services and to deliver Australia’s aid program.
We may collect personal information directly from you or your representative when you deal with us by phone, letter, email, in person or online.
We sometimes collect personal information from other sources including third parties. We will collect personal information from third parties with your consent, where it is unreasonable or impractical to collect the information only from you, or where we are required or authorised by law to do so.
Storage and protection
Our electronic information is secured using firewalls, secure databases, secure online systems, passwords and multi-factor authentication. We restrict physical access to our offices and secure physical files using secure cabinets and containers.
DFAT staff have access to personal information on a need-to-know basis only. Access to personal information stored in our databases is logged in an audit trail.
When no longer required to be retained as part of a Commonwealth record, personal information is destroyed in accordance with the Archives Act 1983.
Use and disclosure
We will generally only use your personal information for the primary purpose for which it was collected. For example, to provide individuals with consular assistance, to assess an application, or to respond to enquiries.
We may also use or disclose your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act, including where you have consented to use or disclosure for a secondary purpose.
Sometimes, we will pass your personal information to other government agencies or organisations (such as the Australian Taxation Office or Department of Home Affairs). This may include overseas governments or organisations for the purpose of assisting with your enquiry or application.
We may disclose some of your personal information to overseas recipients if it is needed to fulfil a core function, such as the provision of consular assistance to Australian citizens and the administration of the Australian aid program.
Examples of how we may use and disclose personal information.
Access and correction
You can request access to, or correction of, your personal information by contacting us on the details below.
We take your privacy seriously and make all efforts to protect your personal information. If you wish to make a complaint about how DFAT handles your personal information, you can contact us on the details below.
How to contact us
+61 2 6261 1111
Director, Privacy Law, Legislation and Assurance Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221