About this policy

The Australian Centre for International Agriculture Centre (ACIAR) must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). 

This Policy contains information about ACIAR’s collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information, including sensitive information and how individuals may access and correct personal information that we hold.

We take privacy seriously and make all efforts to protect personal information from misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.  Anyone  wishing to make a complaint about ACIAR’s handling of your personal information should refer to the Complaints section of this Policy.

Who should read this Policy

This Policy is relevant to people whose personal information is collected, stored, used or disclosed by ACIAR including:

  • Project applicants
  • Anyone applying for ‘event attendance’ funding
  • Applicants for and recipients of John Dillon and John Allwright Fellowships
  • Current and former tenderers, contractors and sub-contractors to ACIAR
  • Current and former Commission for International Agricultural Research and Policy Advisory Council members
  • Former Board of Management members
  • Project team members who travel and participate in ACIAR project events
  • People who have made enquiries or complaints to ACIAR
  • Current and former ACIAR employees
  • Anyone who signs up to receive print or electronic versions of publications or news from ACIAR

Remaining anonymous or using a pseudonym

You have the option of not identifying yourself, or using a pseudonym, when dealing with ACIAR, for example, to make an enquiry or complaint.  However, in circumstances where we are required or authorised to deal with an identified individual by or under law, or where it is impracticable for us to deal with you anonymously or pseudonymously (such as when you apply for funding, a Fellowship or employment) this option will not be available to you.

What kinds of personal information do we hold

Personal information held by ACIAR includes, but is not limited to, personal contact details such as names and addresses, information about citizenship, dates and places of birth, photographs of people, financial information provided by contractors and consultants, employment history details of staff and contractors and details provided by individuals registering Travel Advice Notes.

Sensitive information held by ACIAR includes, but is not limited to: health information provided by individuals, for example for employment reasons or when applying for a Fellowship; political opinions or membership of political associations, for example when provided by individuals in correspondence; and religious or philosophical beliefs, for example when provided by staff as part of a security assessment process.

In this policy, personal information and sensitive information has the meaning given to these terms in the Privacy Act.

Why we might collect your personal information

ACIAR’s role is to encourage research for the purpose of identifying, or finding solutions, to, agricultural problems of developing countries.  Personal information is collected where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, the performance of these activities. 

These include:

  • assessing and approving funding proposals
  • assessing and approving applications for capacity building programs and other funding
  • collaborating with Australian and international agricultural research organisations and government at all levels
  • managing projects and project teams including contracting, travel and budgets

Some examples of why we might collect your personal information include:

  • to process your application for an ACIAR Fellowship or other funding
  • to enter into an agreement/contract with you
  • when you make a complaint
  • when you make an enquiry or request for information
  • in order to invite you to an event
  • to manage the recruitment, personnel and corporate functions of ACIAR
  • to hold in a stakeholder or other contact database for consultation purposes
  • to administer the delivery of goods or services

Information collected for a primary purpose may sometimes be used or disclosed for a related secondary purpose.  For example, information collected from contractors during a tender process may be used as part of an evaluation or review of a particular project delivered by that contractor.  Personal information collected from Fellowship recipients may be used to invite those recipients to alumni events.  Employee information collected to administer an individual’s employment may be used or disclosed during a workplace investigation initiated by that individual.

How we collect personal information

ACIAR collects personal information only by lawful and fair means.  It is our usual practice to collect personal information directly from you or your authorised representative when you deal with us by telephone, letter, e-mail, face-to-face or online.  In particular, when you use one of the websites maintained by ACIAR, including aciar.gov.au and http://collab.aciar.gov.au/  and their sub-domains, we may collect the personal information provided to us via online forms on these websites including when you subscribe to a list, register your travel details or purchase a publication.  We do not collect your personal information when you only browse our website.

We may collect personal information from another source including a third party where you consent, where it is unreasonable or impractical to collect the information only from you or where we are required or authorised to do so by law.  We may collect personal information from third parties or publicly available sources in the course of assessing competitive tender and grant applications.

How we store and protect personal information

We take steps to protect the personal information we hold against misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.  These steps include protection for electronic files and securing paper files in locked cabinets.

Personal information held by ACIAR in Commonwealth records is managed securely through our recordkeeping system.  Staff members across ACIAR have access to personal information on a need to know basis only.  When no longer required to be retained as part of a Commonwealth record, personal information is destroyed in accordance with the Archives Act 1983.

How we use and disclose personal information

Your personal information will only be used and disclosed for the purpose for which it was collected, or otherwise in accordance with the Privacy Act. For example, we use and disclose personal information collected to respond to project and other funding applications, manage projects and to respond to enquiries.

Sometimes, we will pass your personal information to other government agencies or organisations, including overseas governments or organisations, for the purpose of assisting with your enquiry or application.

We only use and disclose personal information (for example, to another Australian government agency) for the purpose for which it was collected (the primary purpose) unless one or more of the following applies:

  • you have consented to use or disclosure for a secondary purpose
  • you would reasonably expect the information to be used or disclosed for a secondary purpose which is related to the primary purpose, or in the case of sensitive information where the secondary purpose is directly related to the primary purpose
  • it is required or authorised by or under law
  • it is reasonably necessary for enforcement activities conducted by or on behalf of an enforcement body

The following are some examples of how we may use and disclose personal information:

  • if you make an enquiry for information or write to ACIAR making representations on a particular issue, we may disclose your personal information to another government department or the Minister so that your enquiry or correspondence is addressed by the appropriate entity within parliament or government.
  • if you apply for a Fellowship or other funding, the personal information provided in your application will be used to assess your application and may be disclosed to Australian educational institutions.

Disclosure of personal information to overseas recipients

ACIAR’s core functions include funding research projects that are developed within a framework reflecting the priorities of Australia’s aid program and national research strengths, together with the agricultural research and development priorities of partner countries.  In order to fulfil these functions, it is likely that some personal information will be disclosed to overseas recipients. 

We do not disclose your personal information to any overseas recipient unless one of the following applies:

  • the recipient is subject to a law or binding scheme substantially similar to the APPs, and the individual can access mechanisms for protecting their privacy
  • you have consented to the disclosure after being expressly informed that we will not be taking reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the APPs
  • it is required or authorised by law
  • it is required or authorised by an international agreement relating to information sharing to which Australia is a party
  • it is reasonably necessary for an enforcement related activity conducted by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body and the recipient performs similar functions.

How to access or correct your personal information held by ACIAR

How you access or correct your personal information depends on which part of ACIAR you have had dealings with.  For example, in order to access or amend your publication or newsletter subscription, contact ACIAR’s Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Unit.  If you are unsure where your information might be held please contact us (see details at the end of this Policy).

If you wish to access personal information we hold about you, or to correct that personal information we will allow access, or make the changes, unless we are required or authorised under the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or other relevant law to refuse access or correction.


We take your privacy seriously and make all efforts to protect your personal information from misuse, interference, and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.  If you are concerned about ACIAR’s handling of your personal information, you may wish to raise your concern directly with the area of ACIAR involved.  This may allow for an informal and direct resolution of your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with this outcome, or prefer to make your complaint directly to ACIAR’s central privacy area, you may send your complaint in writing to:

Privacy Officer
GPO Box 1571
Canberra ACT 2601

E: aciar@aciar.gov.au

If you make a formal complaint we will gather as much relevant background information as possible in the circumstances.  In order to assist ACIAR in its consideration of your complaint, please provide as much information as possible in describing how you think your privacy has been interfered with, including:

  • What happened
  • When it happened (including dates)
  • What personal information of yours was affected
  • Who did it (include individual names if known)
  • How and when you found out about it
  • Your contact details
  • Any other relevant information, including what, if any, outcome you might be expecting from the complaint process.

If the alleged privacy breach involves personal information which does not belong to you we will ask you for evidence that you have authority to act on behalf of the person whose information is in issue before proceeding any further.  Your complaint will be considered by an officer who has not been involved in the conduct about which you are complaining.

We will provide a written response to your formal complaint.  If a breach of the APPs has been identified as a result of your complaint, we will advise you of the findings and proposed follow up action which may include, for example, an apology, targeted staff training, revised security or storage arrangements, or amendment of forms to prevent similar situations arising. 

If you are not satisfied with our response, you have the option of making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.  The Privacy Commissioner is located within the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and can be contacted as follows:

T: 1300 363 992
E: enquiries@oaic.gov.au
Post:  Director of Privacy Case Management
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218

You may also complain directly to the Privacy Commissioner rather than to ACIAR.  If you make a complaint directly to the Privacy Commissioner the Privacy Commissioner may recommend that you try to resolve the complaint directly with ACIAR in the first instance.

How to contact us

Telephone 61+ (0)2 6217 0500


Privacy Officer
GPO Box 1571
Canberra ACT 2601

Email aciar@aciar.gov.au

From time to time, we will review and revise this Privacy Policy.  We reserve the right to amend this policy at any time and any amendments will be notified by posting an updated version on our website.

Last updated: 13 November 2014

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