Privacy Statements

Does your group need a privacy statement? Advice for groups around the need for developing a privacy statement.

Some groups are concerned about the need for privacy statements and policy. This information may assist.

Privacy statements

  1. What are the legal requirements for groups to have a privacy policy/statement?
  2. Is the requirement dependant on the group structure? e.g. incorporation, GST registered
  3. Where should this be made available?
  4. Does the statement need to become a part of the groups constitution, and advertised for discussion/change to constitution?
  5. Can a change to the constitution of the group be done at any time, or only at an AGM?

Advice from the FTLA

The FTLA has provided some advice on the need for Landcare Groups to have privacy statements. 

Groups who receive federal funding or funds from the general public fall under the federal legislation, and there is a general exemption for entities with turnovers of under $3 million per annum.

Exceptions may occur where the group is handling health information or is employing a contractor who is using personal information gathered by the group, and in those cases they may need to comply with the federal legislation.

Groups who receive state funding may be bound by the individual funding contract to comply with the state Privacy legislation. Each group would have to check their funding contract regarding privacy policy of the funding body. These requirements would apply regardless of group type or turnover.

Additional contacts

Office of the Privacy Commissioner: 1300 363 992

Why the need for a privacy policy?

The reason the FTLA has a privacy policy is largely because they were getting a number of enquiries from groups, and as the FTLA collect personal information it seemed wise to codify current practice. After all, just because a group isn’t bound by the privacy legislation does not mean that it should not abide by its principles.

Assuming the group is not bound by legislation the statement attached seems fine as a statement of general principle. The re-worded example below more accurately reflects the relationship between the groups and the FTLA:

"We respect your right to privacy and will not forward any of your personal information to any persons or organisations without your consent, but may be used within XXX Landcare Group for planning and statistical purposes. As a Member Group of the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) we forward our group membership list to the FTLA as a requirement of membership – use of personal information held by the FTLA complies with the FTLA privacy policy."

If the group decides to adopt a privacy policy or statement, it is up to the individual group whether they wish to include it in their constitution. Their constitution should spell out the conditions under which an amendment to the constitution can be made.

Groups will need to examine their individual situations to see what is required.  The Privacy Victoria site also has further information on privacy policy or statements.