Privacy complaints

Under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) you can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) about the handling of your personal information by Australian and Norfolk Island government agencies and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy Act.

You can also make a complaint to the OAIC about the handling of your personal information by ACT public sector agencies under the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT) .

Important information about the complaints process:

  • It is free to lodge a complaint.
  • You do not need a lawyer. However if you do decide to hire a lawyer, you must pay for the lawyer yourself.
  • The OAIC investigates privacy complaints from individuals about Australian and Norfolk Island government agencies, and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy Act 1988. The Privacy Act does not cover state and territory government agencies, however the OAIC does investigate complaints about ACT public sector agencies covered by the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT).
  • The OAIC aims to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. Some complaints are resolved within weeks, but more complex complaints may take longer. You can find more information about what you can expect in our Client Service Charter.
  • Complaints are generally resolved through conciliation.
  • You can choose to withdraw your complaint at any time.

If you are looking for information about how to manage a privacy complaint about your agency or organisation, please see:

How to make a complaint

Information about how you can make a privacy complaint to the OAIC, what you can complain about, who you can complain about, possible outcomes and what you should include with your complaint can be found on the Making a complaint page.

> Read the video transcript

Privacy complaint checker

The Privacy Complaint Checker helps you work out if the OAIC can deal with your privacy complaint by answering a series of simple questions.

What happens to your complaint

We will deal with your complaint as quickly as possible and keep you informed of its progress. The OAIC is independent and impartial in dealing with your complaint. More information about the OAIC complaints process can be found on the What happens to your complaint page.

Privacy appeal rights

If you are not satisfied with a decision the OAIC has made, you can ask the OAIC to review the decision. More information about your rights can be found on the Privacy appeal rights page.

This page makes up a part of the OAIC Information Publication Scheme IPS

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