Consultation period

12 September 2023 - 6:00 am To 7 November 2023 - 5:00 pm

A stronger, more diverse and independent community sector – Privacy Notice

Your personal information is protected by law, including under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act).

The Department of Social Services (the department, we, us, our), collects personal information about individuals for a range of purposes to enable it to carry out its functions. More information about how we handle your personal information is set out in our Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Notice is designed to ensure you are aware of certain matters in relation to the department’s collection of your personal information, as required by the Privacy Act.

Purpose of this Consultation

The department is exploring opportunities to better support Australian communities through the design and administration of grants to the sector, including more meaningful working partnerships and options for greater innovation. This work will form the basis of recommendations put forward to the Australian Government and to help shape these recommendations, the department is inviting public submissions from service providers, peak bodies, academics and the general public.

The Issues Paper includes a number of discussion questions to guide (but not limit) your feedback. You can share your views by addressing some or all of the questions outlined in the
Issues Paper, or you may choose to provide us with your feedback and thoughts without responding to any particular question.

If you are an individual making a submission on behalf of an organisation (such as a service provider, peak body or other organisation), we will ask for your name, work email address, and the name of the organisation that you make the submission on behalf of. We will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act, as detailed in this Privacy Notice, and in accordance with the department’s Privacy Policy.

If you are not making a submission on behalf of an organisation, you will be required to provide your name or email address. If you consent to having your submission published on DSS Engage, you can consent to publication of your submission with your name or anonymously. Your email address will not be included with your published submission on DSS Engage.

The department’s intention is for individuals who wish to provide feedback to have the choice to not be identified, or be reasonably identifiable. However, even where individuals choose to remain anonymous, it is possible that the individual may still be identifiable due to various factors (for example, if you include personal information in your submission). It is also possible that other individuals may be identified, or reasonably identifiable, from the information you provide in your submission. Where we are able to identify or can reasonably identify you or another person from your submission, we will handle your response in accordance with the Privacy Act as it will be ‘personal information’ that has been collected by the department.

What is ‘personal information’ and ‘sensitive information’?

‘Personal information’ is information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable. This applies whether the personal information is true or not or recorded in a material form or not. For example, personal information can include an individual’s name, signature, residential address, phone number, email address, date of birth, photographs, employment information, location information from mobile devices and internet protocol addresses.

Sensitive information’ is a subset of personal information. It includes information or an opinion about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of associations or unions, sexual orientation or practices, criminal record, or health, genetic or biometric information. Health information includes any information regarding whether an individual has a disability and the nature of their disability.

Who is collecting your personal information?

Your personal information is being collected by the department and by Services Australia, who will be assisting the department with the information technology aspects of the Consultation. We may also share your information with other entities contracted to provide services to assist us with the project, where required. This may include entities contracted by the department to provide information technology, research, accessibility, analysis and editing services.

We will not provide your personal information to anybody else, unless we are authorised or required to by law. No information about you will be disclosed overseas unless your submission is published or made publicly available, or your information is disclosed to an external consultant or contractor.

What personal information we collect


Through your participation in the consultation, we may collect a range of personal information, some of which could be sensitive information. The only personal information that is required is your

  • name, or a pseudonym, and
  • email address.

The personal information we will ask for, but is optional to provide, includes:

  • location information, such as the state or territory you live in and the type of geographic location (for example, remote/regional/metro)
  • whether you are a community member or represent a government, non-government or for-profit organisation
  • First Nations status
  • Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) status
  • Disability status
  • LGBTIQA+ status.

We may also collect personal information from:

  • your personal views on the Issues Paper, including your responses to survey questions and feedback/comments on what the Australian Government should focus on to strengthen the community sector
  • if you include personal information in your submission, and
  • if you complete the Consultation by an alternative method (such as via email)


Through your participation in this Consultation, we will collect the following personal information if you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation:

  • name
  • work email address
  • the name of the organisation.

Additional information we will ask for, but is optional to provide, includes the location and size of your organisation and whether it provides services to specific cohorts. Your personal information will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act and this Privacy Notice, and in accordance with the department’s Privacy Policy.

The personal information that Services Australia will collect is your IP address and information about your device’s operating system.

How we collect your personal information

If your personal information is collected, we will do this by collecting information from your response to the Consultation.

Why we collect your personal information

Your personal information is collected for the purposes of informing the development of new recommendations to government, which includes:

  • developing the recommendations about grant funding reforms in the community sector; and
  • understanding and publishing aggregated information about the demographics of respondents.

Submissions collected as part of this Consultation will be summarised in a de-identified format into a report, which will be published on the website.

Submissions will also be published on the website, where you have provided your consent for publication. Prior to publication of your submission, the department will take steps to redact any personal information that you have not consented to the release of (such as your name and email address, and personal information related to other individuals).

Some of the information collected by us from our targeted or public consultations has research value in developing policies that extend beyond the specific consultation for which it was originally collected. Where this is the case, the information that we collect from this Consultation may be used for our other research purposes. In doing so, we will apply the Australian Privacy Principles to the handling of any personal information.


If you do not provide your personal information (including sensitive information), we will still be able to consider your views as part of this Consultation process and your identity will remain anonymous.

In order to publish your submission on DSS Engage, we require your email address to enable us to contact you to regarding the publication of your information where necessary. If you do not consent to the provision of your email address, your submission will not be published on DSS Engage or in a report.


If you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation, you are asked to provide your name, your work email address, and the name of your organisation. If this information is not provided, you are unable to make a submission on behalf of the named organisation. You may, alternatively, wish to make a submission as an individual.

Where you make a submission on behalf of an organisation, you are confirming that you have authority to do so.

Who we disclose your personal information to

Your response and any personal information or sensitive information collected from this Consultation process is accessible to department staff involved in the relevant Consultation process.

We may disclose your submission, including your personal information, to the following people, organisations or third parties:

  • entities contracted to provide services to assist us with developing recommendations (which may include entities contracted to the department analysing and reporting on Consultation responses and consultation submissions in an aggregated way, or providing information technology, accessibility, analysis and editing services);
  • Services Australia, for the purposes of assisting the department to administer DSS Engage and providing the department with other information technology services; and
  • other parties where the disclosure is required or authorised by law. If we receive information in response to this Consultation that indicates there is a risk of harm to the respondent or another person, we are required to report it under Australian Law. This may include referral to the relevant state or territory authorities, in line with the relevant state, territory and Commonwealth legislation.

All entities contracted by us are subject to strict confidentiality, privacy and security obligations.

We may redact parts of your Consultation response before disclosing or publishing it, as appropriate. This may occur in circumstances where your response contains information that is not relevant to this Consultation, it contains personal or sensitive information, could potentially defame others, is offensive in nature, or contains operationally sensitive information.

Any demographic information provided in your Consultation responses will only be used for internal analysis, and will not be published, except as aggregated statistics.

Storage of your personal information

Storage of personal information (and the disposal of information when no longer required) is managed in accordance with the Australian Government records management regime, including the Archives Act 1983, agency-specific records authorities and general records authorities. This ensures your personal information is held securely by the department.

All personal information collected by the department is stored on Services Australia’s cloud storage, on servers located in Australia. Services Australia and the department retains effective control over any personal information held on our cloud, and the information is handled in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles.

Any information disclosed to third parties will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act and stored in accordance with agreed security protocols.

More information

The department’s Privacy Policy contains more information about how we handle personal information, how you can access personal information that we hold about you, and how you can seek correction of that personal information. It also contains information about how to make a complaint about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, as set out in the Privacy Act.

If you have any concerns or questions, you can contact us at

Confirmation and consent

By providing personal information as part of your Consultation response, you consent to the department’s collection and handling of personal information in accordance with this Privacy Notice and the department’s Privacy Policy.

Please note that you do not need to provide sensitive information if you do not wish to do so.

By providing sensitive information as part of your Consultation response, you consent to the department collecting your sensitive information and handling your sensitive information in accordance with this Privacy Notice and the department’s Privacy Policy.