We protect the privacy of your personal information. We endorse fair information handling practices and use of information in compliance with our obligations under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).
Personal information will be used only for the intended purpose. Where the intention includes confidentiality, information will be treated as such unless otherwise required by law.
This privacy statement explains how your personal information (being information capable of identifying you as an individual) will be treated as you access and interact with this website. The practices outlined in this privacy statement are subject to any rights we may have to handle personal information in accordance with the privacy legislation.
Collection of your personal information
The personal information we collect via this website may include:
- The content in electronic forms that you submit via this website. For example a request to provide services, information or to take action
- Information submitted by you in an online survey
- Messages or comments, including personal information such as name, email address and telephone number, you submit to us via this website. For example through email addresses displayed on this website.
Email addresses on this site will only be used to respond to specific user queries and will not be added to any mailing lists, nor disclosed to any other party without users' knowledge and consent, unless required by law. Where personal information is collected directly from you on our web pages, a specific privacy notification can be viewed by clicking on the privacy statement tag at the bottom of the online form.
The Department of Health ('the department') is collecting your personal and health information to communicate the request from the health service taking your COVID-19 swab (which may be the department or another health provider) to a pathology service for testing, and to obtain information to assist the department in managing the COVID-19 virus pandemic. After your test, we will use your mobile number to send you an SMS, providing you with links to further information about COVID-19 on our website.
Some of the questions you will be asked by staff at the testing site are necessary to enable a valid request to be made for COVID-19 pathology testing. Other questions are not mandatory but will assist in our understanding of COVID-19 and who is undergoing testing. We will let you know which questions are optional.
We will disclose certain information collected about you to a pathology provider for COVID-19 testing. That pathology provider will report test results to the department, and to the health service who took your swab for testing. You will be notified of your result by the pathology provider, the health service or the department using the contact information we collect from you. We may also provide the health service that took your swab with a copy of the information you provided at the time of your test and your COVID-19 test result, so that they have this information in their health care records.
Our public health unit and other researchers are undertaking important analysis of available COVID-19 data to improve our understanding of the virus and assist in our response. Information that we collect may be used for these purposes by the department or disclosed to other researchers where that is authorised by law.
If your test is positive for COVID-19, the department may share your information with Victoria Police to ensure that the Chief Health Officer's Directions are being complied with.
Your test result may be loaded to My Health Record unless you tell us that you do not want this to happen.
You can apply for access to information the department holds about you. The department’s Freedom of Information Unit may be contacted on:
- Tel: 1300 020 360
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Postal Address: GPO BOX 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001
- Street Address: 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Tel: 1300 024 759
- Email: email@example.com
Web statistical data collection
While you can browse this website anonymously, without disclosing your personal information, we may not be able to provide the full range of services through this website if we are not provided with the information outlined above.
Use and disclosure of your personal information
Where we collect personal information from you via our website, a privacy disclaimer will indicate which third parties we might share your information with (if any). In addition to providing our services to you and carrying out your requests, we may use or disclose personal information that we collect about you for purposes including the following:
- For the purpose that we have collected the information
- Purposes related to our research, planning, product and service development, security and testing
- Purposes connected with the operation, administration, development or enhancement of this website
- Where we suspect that fraud or unlawful activity has been, is being or may be engaged in
- Any other purposes required or authorised by law.
We may share personal information within the department and with third parties. The types of third parties to whom we may disclose your personal information includes our contracted service providers who assist us in providing this website and delivering our services such as our community service partners, organisations who provide archival, auditing, professional advisory, banking, mailhouse, delivery, recruitment, call centre, information technology, research, utility and security services. We may also disclose your personal information to your authorised representatives or third parties acting on your behalf, for example your solicitor or interpreter.
If you have made an online application, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate Department of Health and Human Services divisions or agency and any other third parties to whom your application relates or who can assist in processing your application and delivering the service to you.
We have implemented technology and security policies, rules and measures to protect the personal information that we have under our control. However, you should be aware that there are risks in transmitting information across the Internet. So while we strive to protect such information, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information transmitted to us online and individuals do so at their own risk. Once any personal information comes into our possession, we will take reasonable steps to protect that information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. If you are concerned about conveying sensitive material to us over the Internet, you might prefer to contact us by telephone or mail. We will remove personal information from our system where it is no longer required (except where archiving is required and in order to fulfil our obligations under the Public Records Act 1973 (Vic)).
We take additional steps to protect the security of your personal information, such as strong 128-bit SSL encryption. Before using these facilities, you should ensure that you are using a web browser that supports 128-bit encryption. In many web browsers, you can confirm that your session is encrypted by the appearance of a locked padlock symbol located in the browser status bar at the foot of the browser.
Feedback, information request form and email
We may preserve the content of any feedback form, information request form, email or other electronic message that we receive. Any personal information contained in that message will only be used or disclosed in ways set out in this Website Privacy Statement. We will not use that information to add you to a mailing list without your consent.
Links to external websites
This privacy statement does not extend beyond this website. When following links to other sites from this website, we recommend that you read the privacy statement of that site to familiarise yourself with its privacy practices.
This website's web server automatically records non-personal clickstream data. To the extent that any clickstream data could make you identifiable, we will not attempt to identify you from clickstream data unless required by law or to investigate suspected improper activity in relation to the website or to assist in law enforcement.
The following clickstream data are automatically recorded by this website’s web server for statistical and system administration purposes only:
- Your IP address
- Your domain name (e.g. yahoo.com, gmail.com, etc)
- The date and the time of your visit to the site
- The pages you accessed and files downloaded
- The address of the last site you visited
- Your operating system
- The type of browser you are using.
The default settings of browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari may allow some or all cookies, but users can easily take steps to erase cookies from their hard-drive, block all cookies, or receive a warning before a cookie is stored. However, some parts of sites may not function fully for users that disallow cookies.
Access and correction
You can request access to or correction of personal and health information held by the department.
For information on making an FOI application, please visit our Freedom of Information page or contact the Freedom of Information Officer:
Freedom of Information Unit
Department of Health
- Postal address: GPO BOX 4057, MELBOURNE, VIC 3001
- Email the Freedom of Information unit.
Department of Health
- Postal Address: GPO BOX 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001
- Email: Privacy unit.
Further information on data protection can be found on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website.