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Centrelink debt recovery system

Statement by the Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim

6 January 2017

My office has been in contact with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman about this issue.

My office works closely with DHS and other government agencies to ensure they understand their privacy obligations and adopt best practice when undertaking data-matching activities. We also undertake assessments (formerly termed audits) of DHS’ data-matching activities to ensure that the personal information collected through these processes continues to be managed in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

In 2017 we will be finalising an ongoing assessment of the privacy aspects of DHS’s Enhanced Welfare Payment Integrity — non-employment income data-matching program, as well as conducting further assessments into their data-matching activities. The results of these assessments will be made available to the public at their conclusion.

No investigation has been opened in relation to this matter by my office. However, if anyone has any concerns about how their privacy has been managed they can contact my office for free confidential advice on enquiries@oaic.gov.au or 1300 363 992.