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Use and disclosure guidelines

Guidelines about use and disclosure of information included in AusCheck database are issued by the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department under section 29 of the AusCheck Regulations 2017.

These guidelines establish a compulsory framework for decision making by AusCheck staff for releasing AusCheck scheme personal information under subparagraphs 14(2)(b)(iii) and 14(2)(b)(iiia) of the AusCheck Act 2007 (the Act).

Authority for AusCheck to disclose personal information for law enforcement or national security purposes

In accordance with subparagraphs 14(2)(b)(iii) and 14(2)(b)(iiia) of the Act, AusCheck may disclose AusCheck scheme personal information to Commonwealth, state and territory authorities for the purposes of the performance of functions relating to law enforcement or national security.

Under the Act, a Commonwealth authority is a body (whether incorporated or not) established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth, and a state or territory authority is a body (whether incorporated or not) established for a public purpose by or under a law of a state or territory.

Responsibilities of an authority

Before AusCheck scheme personal information is released to Commonwealth, state or territory authorities, the requesting agency must undertake to protect this information and only use this information for purposes relating to law enforcement or national security.

An authority receiving information from AusCheck must ensure that information received by AusCheck is dealt with in a way that complies with all applicable privacy, recordkeeping, records disposal, auditing and reporting requirements.

Under subsection 15(1A) of the Act, it is an offence for a person to obtain AusCheck scheme personal information and to disclose the information to someone without authority under the Act.

Requesting information

Commonwealth, state and territory authorities can request AusCheck scheme personal information by sending a completed request for AusCheck scheme personal information form to AusCheck@ag.gov.au:

AusCheck staff will assess each request to ensure the following conditions are met:

  1. the body is a Commonwealth, state or territory authority
  2. the body has law enforcement or national security functions
  3. the information is to be used for the purpose of the performance of functions relating to law enforcement or national security.

If an agency is an accredited authority, condition 3 need only be met when requesting information, as conditions 1 and 2 would have been met as part of the accreditation process.

An accredited authority can request AusCheck scheme personal information by sending a completed accredited authority request for AusCheck scheme personal information to AusCheck@ag.gov.au:

How to apply to be an accredited authority

Accreditation issued under the previous AusCheck guidelines will continue to be in effect until otherwise advised by AusCheck.

A Commonwealth, state or territory authority may apply to AusCheck to become an accredited authority. The accreditation process determines whether a body has functions relating to law enforcement or national security for the purpose of the AusCheck Act 2007 by virtue of their functions as prescribed in the relevant legislation or other authority. Once accredited, an authority no longer needs to demonstrate that it is a Commonwealth, state or territory body that has law enforcement or national security functions for each request for information.

A body may apply for accreditation in anticipation of future requests for information. It is recommended that if an authority will seek information from AusCheck on a regular basis, the authority considers becoming an accredited authority.

Requests for accreditation must be made by an officer of the body who is equivalent to a member of the Australian Public Service senior executive service, or higher. As part of the accreditation process authorities undertake to notify AusCheck of any changes in their law enforcement or national security functions. Agencies can apply to AusCheck to become an accredited authority by completing the application to be an accredited authority form and sending to AusCheck@ag.gov.au:

Delivering AusCheck scheme personal information

AusCheck will work with authorities to identify the most appropriate method for receiving AusCheck scheme personal information. Methods may include delivery of information by hard copy or electronic transmission, data storage such as CD ROM or hard drive, or direct access via secure computer link.

An authority will be required to comply with any additional requirements set by AusCheck in relation to the particular access method. These additional requirements will be communicated to the relevant authority.

AusCheck reporting obligations

As part of the Attorney-General's Department annual report, AusCheck will report the names of authorities, including accredited authorities, that have received information from AusCheck under subparagraphs 14(2)(b)(iii) and 14(2)(b)(iiia)of the Act during the reporting period. AusCheck will also include the purposes for which access to this information was provided, the number of occasions and method of access provided.