The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1987, governed by a management Board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament as part of the Health portfolio.
We collect and report information on many topics and issues, including health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, mental health, ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.
One of our main roles is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of data. Where possible, we compile national datasets based on data from each state and territory. We also analyse these datasets and distribute information and statistics.
Under this policy, we adhere to the:
Under the Privacy Act, ‘personal information’ is information about a living person who could reasonably be identified. We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act when we collect, use, disclose and store personal information, and when dealing with how people may access and correct the personal information we hold about them.
The Privacy Act has an important exception to the APPs that applies to the AIHW. Section 95 permits us to take actions that might otherwise breach an APP, if those actions are for medical research and in accordance with the Guidelines under Section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988 issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
We do not disclose information we collect about persons (living or deceased) or organisations to anyone outside the AIHW unless authorised to do so under the AIHW Act.
It is a criminal offence for our staff, or anyone working with or receiving information from us, to disclose information in breach of Section 29 of the Act.
Our Ethics Committee is established under Section 16 of the AIHW Act and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Ethics Committee) Regulations 2018. The Committee's functions and membership are prescribed in the regulations.
One function is to determine, on ethical grounds, if identifiable data should be released for a specific purpose. This is data containing personal information (Privacy Act) or information concerning a person (AIHW Act). The Committee can impose conditions or restrictions on the release of such data.
The Committee considers applications:
When deciding on applications the Ethics Committee considers compliance with the:
Privacy Act, including Guidelines under Section 95
National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
We only collect, hold, use and disclose personal information to carry out our work (Section 5, AIHW Act). We collect health-related and welfare-related information to develop statistics for and information used by governments and researchers to assist with health and welfare policy and decision making.
We also collect some personal information when people use our website to improve our website, products and services.
We collect personal information for a range of reasons, including to:
undertake data linkage activities for health and welfare research.
More information: About our data.
We also collect personal information for other purposes. This includes:
We collect personal information:
We collect this information in various ways, including:
We may collect the following types of personal information as we perform our work:
We also collect and hold some sensitive information, including:
We collect and store personal information securely. Electronic and paper records containing your personal information are stored and protected in accordance with the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework and managed in accordance with Australian Government records management requirements set out in the Archives Act 1983 (Cwlth) and our Data Governance Framework (295KB PDF).
We support these broader requirements with many internal policies and procedures on:
All our staff and contractors must sign confidentiality agreements before they can access any data we hold. We only grant our staff with access to a data collection when they need it to perform their work.
We only use personal information to perform our work under the AIHW Act, or in our capacity as an employer.
If we disclose personal information, we do so as permitted by the AIHW Act and Privacy Act.
We may disclose your personal information where:
When you browse our website, we collect this information about your visit, which we use for statistical purposes:
We use Google Analytics, a United States-based service, to analyse browsing information and produce reports on how visitors use our website. Google may transfer this information to third parties when required by law, or when the third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google stores information across multiple countries.
You can ask to access the personal information we hold about you. If that information is incorrect or outdated, you can ask us to correct it.
Contact our Privacy Officer.
We are committed to protecting your privacy. You can make a complaint if you believe we may have breached your privacy or our privacy obligations.
Send your complaint to our Privacy Officer providing your contact details.
We take all complaints seriously and are committed to quickly and fairly resolving them. If the matter is complex and takes longer to investigate that we first expected, we will keep you informed on when you will receive a response.
If you are not happy with our response to your complaint about privacy, you can ask the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to review your complaint and our response. You do not have to send your complaint to us before you ask the OAIC to consider it. However, if you do so, the OAIC may recommend that you try to resolve it with us first.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
GPO Box 570
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone +61 2 6244 1065
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.