Privacy in the Australian Public Service

21 August 2017

Privacy is central to the work of the Australian Public Service (APS). As a public servant, the community trust you to look after their valuable personal information. Protecting and respecting the personal information that you handle creates public confidence in your agency, and in the work of the Australian Government more broadly.

The OAIC has developed two videos to highlight the importance of privacy for the APS. The videos provide practical tips for considering privacy in your day-to-day work, and when developing a new policy or starting a new project.

We encourage you to share these videos with your colleagues, and to include them in your internal communications and training programs.


When you join the Australian Public Service, you are joining a team of people who are entrusted to protect the personal information of our community.

Depending on your role and the agency you’re working with, you may come into contact with a lot of personal information, or a little.

But regardless of how much information you handle, Australians expect you to respect and protect their privacy. And their trust is vital to ensure confidence in transacting with government services.

In your day-to-day work, you’ll need to handle personal information within the requirements of the Privacy Act.

Personal information is information about someone that identifies, or could reasonably identify that person. This could include a person’s identity information, medical information, financial or employment details.

Protecting and respecting the personal information you work with means:

  • Being transparent with the public about what you and your agency are going to do with their personal information.
  • Understanding how to handle personal information in line with your agency’s privacy policy.
  • Understanding your agency’s obligations under the Privacy Act, including how to collect, use, disclose and secure personal information.
  • Understanding what to do, and who to tell, if there is a data breach.
  • Be aware of other legislative obligations that might apply to information handling in your agency.

If you need more information about how to protect personal information, talk to your agency’s privacy officer or contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.