Privacy Policy



Privacy Policy
March 2014


The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), as part of the Catholic Church, conducts a range of activities in order to fulfil its mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. In conducting those activities the ACBC may, from time to time, collect personal information. The information is collected to enable the ACBC to minister to the faithful and to fulfil its canonical and civil law obligations under the Code of Canon Law and under the Civil Law (both Commonwealth and State).

The ACBC is bound by the 2012 amendments to the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth) (Act), which include the Australian Privacy Principles. The ACBC respects the rights of individuals to keep their personal information private and to ensure that it is accurate. This policy describes ways in which the ACBC gathers, stores, disseminates and disposes of personal information.


This policy applies to those agencies of the ACBC which do not have their own privacy policies.

This policy applies to:

  • Members of the Catholic Church
  • Volunteers, contractors and prospective employees of the ACBC
  • Members of the general public
  • Any other parties to whom the Act applies

This policy and the provisions of the Act do not apply to records or information held or collected on behalf of or relating to existing or former employees of the ACBC, priests or Religious. This policy does not apply to personal information collected prior to 21 December 2001. This policy applies where personal information is collected and/or used by the ACBC.

‘Personal information’ means information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether or not recorded in material form, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained, from the information or opinion. In addition to personal information, the Act also regulates the collection of sensitive information, including personal information about racial or ethnic origin, religion, criminal record, sexuality and union activities. Sensitive information is also health information about an individual.

Purpose of Collection of Personal Information

The ACBC may, from time to time, collect personal information for many purposes, including:

  • to minister to the faithful and to provide pastoral care
  • to provide administrative support to other Catholic Church agencies
  • for fundraising activities
  • to assess the employment applications of prospective employees
  • for other purposes that may arise from time to time

You will be informed of the reason that your personal information is being collected at the time of collection.

Collection of Personal Information

The ACBC may collect, from time to time, personal information in various ways, including:

  • You providing personal information about yourself and/or a member of your family to the ACBC, or a Catholic parish, school, welfare or other agency
  • You providing the ACBC with your personal information and various documentation relating to possible employment with the ACBC
  • Other methods that may arise from time to time.

The ACBC will endeavour to collect your personal information directly from you. Where this is not possible, your consent will be sought prior to collecting your personal information from a third party. If your consent cannot be obtained, the ACBC will have regard to the requirements and exemptions of the Act before making such a collection.

In the case of children, personal information will ordinarily be collected from their parents or guardians, unless specific and/or unusual circumstances require that the collection be made directly from the relevant child.

For prospective employees, the ACBC may collect personal information by speaking with referees. The ACBC may contact applicants’ previous employers who have not been nominated as referees. Should this be the case, applicants will be advised prior to such contact being made.

In some circumstances you will be able to provide the information requested anonymously or under a pseudonym.

Information Held

The personal or sensitive information that the ACBC holds about you may include the following:

  • Personal contact details
  • Sacramental records
  • Information relating to your application for employment
  • Any health information required by law
  • Any personal information about you that will enable the ACBC to satisfy its duty of care to other individuals with whom you may come into contact in the course of your involvement with the Catholic Church
  • Information relating to pastoral care needs
  • Information relating to a child’s enrolment at a Catholic school
  • Any other information about you that may be relevant to the contact that you have with the ACBC

How Your Personal Information is Used and Disclosed

Your personal information will be used for the purpose for which it was collected or for a related secondary purpose. If the personal information is also sensitive information then it will be used for the purpose for which it was collected or a directly related secondary purpose. Your personal information may also be used for another purpose where:

  • We have your consent
  • You would reasonably expect that to occur
  • The ACBC is legally required to do so

Your personal information will generally be used to attend to any pastoral care, ministry, educational or welfare needs that you may have. If you are a prospective employee, your personal information will be used to assess your suitability for the position for which you have applied. Your personal information may also be used to assess your suitability for a position for which you have not applied, but to which the ACBC believes you may be suited. Should this be the case, the ACBC will seek your consent before considering you for such a position. Other related secondary purposes are:

  • to minister to the faithful and to provide pastoral care
  • to fulfil educational needs and expectations in Catholic schools
  • to provide welfare and support
  • for fundraising activities
  • to assess the employment applications of prospective employees
  • for other purposes that may arise from time to time

The ACBC may distribute aggregated statistical information to the Vatican and other Catholic Church agencies for reporting purposes. In most cases, this information will not contain any features that will identify individuals

The ACBC is a large entity with many agencies and organisations. Information may be shared over the whole range of ACBC bodies.

In some limited circumstances, contractors to the ACBC may have access to your personal information. In most cases, confidentiality agreements are in place with these contractors so that personal information which they may come into contact with in the course of their work with the ACBC is protected. The ACBC will not adopt a government related identifier of an individual as its own identifier, or use or disclose a government related identifier of an individual. The ACBC will not disclose your personal information for direct marketing purposes without your prior consent. The ACBC will not disclose your personal information to overseas recipients without your prior consent. Before disclosing your personal information to an overseas recipient, the ACBC will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the recipient will not breach the Australian Privacy Principles.

Storage of Information

The ACBC takes reasonable steps to protect and secure personal information from unauthorised access, loss, misuse, disclosure or alteration. These steps include restricted access to ACBC offices and other areas where personal information is stored, and in computer files that can be accessed only by authorised individuals using login names and secret passwords. All agencies of the ACBC are required to do the same. Personal information will be stored by the ACBC for as long as the ACBC deems necessary.

Any unsolicited personal information that the ACBC receives from you will be assessed to determine whether it is necessary to retain any of this information to provide you with any services that you have requested. If your unsolicited personal information is not necessary, then it will be destroyed or de-identified according to our standard process.

Accessing your Information

You may request access to personal information that is held about you. Access to your personal information must be provided to you, except in specific circumstances as identified by the Act. The ACBC is entitled to impose a reasonable charge on you for providing you with the personal information, particularly where photocopying is necessary.

To access your personal information, you must make a written request to:

Rev Brian J Lucas: General Secretary
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
GPO Box 368
Canberra ACT 2601


Accuracy of Information

The ACBC will take all reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of your personal information. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that your personal information is kept up to date. If you wish to change or modify your personal information, you should make a written request to the Director or Chief Executive Officer of the relevant agency or organisation. Your written request should set out the changes that you wish to be made. You may request for the amended information to be forwarded to other related organisations. Your written request should name the organisation to which you want the information forwarded.

Consequences of Not Providing Personal

Information Subject to certain exceptions, the ACBC cannot collect your personal or sensitive information without your consent. If you withhold your consent, however, the ACBC may be limited in its ability to:

  • Attend to your welfare needs
  • Attend to your child’s educational needs
  • Attend to any pastoral care or other ministry needs that you may have
  • Offer you employment
  • Deal with any inquiries, difficulties or concerns that you may have

Questions and Complaints

If you have any queries about this policy or wish to make a complaint about the manner in which the ACBC or one of its agencies or organisations has handled your personal information, in the first instance please contact:

Rev Brian J Lucas: General Secretary
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

GPO Box 368
Canberra ACT 2601


If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may then wish to make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), who is responsible for the enforcement of the Act. Information of how to make a complaint is available on line from the OAIC at

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s contact details are:

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
GPO Box 5218

Telephone: 1300 363 992
Facsimile: (02) 9284 9666



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