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, ACT and Norfolk Island government agencies and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy 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, ACT and Norfolk Island government agencies, and private sector organisations covered by the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act does not cover State and Northern Territory government agencies.
- 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:
- Privacy fact sheet 9: Guide to internal investigations
- Privacy fact sheet 11: How will the OAIC handle a complaint against my organisation?
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.
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.