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. The handling of your personal information by state and Northern Territory government agencies is not 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.
- There are no fines set out in the Privacy Act. Complaints are generally resolved through conciliation.
- You can choose to withdraw your complaint at any time.
How to make a complaint
The OAIC provides guidance about how you lodge a complaint, what you can complain about, who you can complain about, possible outcomes, how much it costs to lodge a complaint and what you should include with your complaint. More information about how to lodge a complaint with the OAIC can be found on the Making a complaint page.
Privacy complaint checker
The Privacy Complaint Checker is a system that asks you up to eight simple questions to help determine whether or not the OAIC may be able to investigate your complaint under the Privacy Act. Please refer to our Privacy Complaint Checker for guidance.
What happens to your complaint
There are a number of stages in the complaint handling process. We will try to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible and to 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.