This policy describes the management of personal information collected by the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988.
The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal is an independent dispute resolution body which deals with a diverse range of superannuation-related complaints and offers a free, user-friendly alternative to the court system.
The Tribunal was established by the Australian Government by the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 (Complaints Act). The Tribunal's statutory functions require it to inquire into a complaint and try to resolve it by conciliation. If conciliation is unsuccessful, a formal review is undertaken by a panel of Tribunal members and a binding determination is issued.
The kinds of personal information that we collect and hold
The kinds of personal information we collect depends on the type of complaint the Tribunal has been asked to investigate.
For a complaint that relates to a claim for disability benefits from a superannuation fund, the information collected about the person claiming the benefit can include health information, employment history and educational details.
For a complaint that relates to the administration of a person's account or interest in a superannuation fund, the information collected about the fund member or former fund member can include how the person joined the fund, the contributions made to the fund by or on behalf of the person, health information, the person's interactions with fund staff and related aspects of the person's financial situation.
For a complaint about the distribution of a superannuation death benefit, the information collected can include information about the deceased (including sensitive information such as health information), the deceased fund member's family, relationships and deceased estate. The information collected can also include information about persons who claim to be dependants of the deceased the person, including about their financial position and sensitive information such as health information.
Anonymity and pseudonymity
Our function under the Complaints Act is the resolution of complaints about a decision made by superannuation fund or other superannuation entity that relates to a particular member or former member. Under the Complaints Act only certain persons can make a complaint, and our powers relate to assessing the operation of the decision in relation to the person who made the complaint, and other affected persons, in the circumstances.
It is therefore not practicable for us to provide the option of an individual not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym (a name other than your real name), when dealing with us.
How we collect and hold personal information
We collect your personal information through a variety of channels. These include paper forms or notices, email correspondence, online portals, through face-to-face interaction and over the telephone.
For a complaint that relates to a claim for disability benefits from a superannuation fund, we collect information about the person claiming the benefit when that person makes their complaint to the Tribunal. We also collect information about the person claiming the benefit from the relevant super fund, any relevant insurer and other sources under powers in the Complaints Act as part of our investigation into the complaint.
For a complaint that relates to the administration of a person's account or interest in a superannuation fund, we collect information about the fund member or former fund member when that person makes their complaint to the Tribunal. We also collect information about the person from other sources, such as the relevant super fund and any relevant insurer, under powers in the Complaints Act as part of our investigation into the complaint.
For a complaint about the distribution of a superannuation death benefit, we collect information about the persons seeking to receive some or all of the benefit when the complaint(s) are made to the Tribunal. This information is collected as part of a person making their complaint to the Tribunal or participating as a party joined to a complaint. We also collect information about those persons from other sources, such as the relevant superannuation fund and any relevant insurer, under the Complaints Act as part of our investigation into the complaint.
We can also collect information about a person from another person who may make the complaint to the Tribunal on behalf of or acting as the representative of the person in the complaints process.
How privacy affects you
Our staff and the Tribunal members are subject to both a range of secrecy requirements under the Complaints Act and to the general requirements of the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act lays down strict privacy guidelines in relation to collecting, processing storing, using and disclosing personal and sensitive information.
More information about the Privacy Act can be obtained from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's website at www.oaic.gov.au or by calling the Commissioner's Hotline on 1300 363 992. If you have any privacy concerns, or wish to find out more about how we manage personal information, you can contact us directly.
The purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information
We collect, hold, use or disclose personal information for the purposes of our statutory functions under the Complaints Act. These purposes include disclosures required by that Act expressly and those required to ensure that we accord procedural fairness to all parties in our dispute resolution processes. The Complaints Act also contains strict secrecy provisions that limit how we use your information.
We will not use personal information for any other purpose, nor will we disclose it, unless you consent or there are other circumstances where such use or disclosure is permitted under the Privacy Act. These may include where the use or disclosure:
- is required or authorised by law
- is used for a purpose that you would reasonably expect information of that kind to be used for, and the purpose relates to the Tribunal's functions
- will lessen or prevent a serious threat to somebody's life, health or safety, or to public health or safety
- is reasonably necessary for the enforcement related activities of an enforcement body.
Disclosure of personal information to overseas recipients
It is possible that in dealing with a particular complaint under the Complaints Act we may be required to disclose personal information to a person involved in the complaint who is outside Australia. Any need to disclose personal information to an overseas recipient arises only on the facts of the particular complaint, and this could occur in relation to any foreign country.
Collection, use and disclosure of website use information
We also collect information if you access the Tribunal's website. For further details see Website privacy.
How you can access your personal information that we hold and seek the correction of that information
The Privacy Act allows individuals to access and alter records containing their personal information. The Freedom of Information Act 1982 also sets out the process by which you can access, change or annotate records held by us which contain your personal information.
How you can complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles by us, and how we will deal with such a complaint
To find out more about your rights and the remedies for breaches of privacy visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's website at www.oaic.gov.au or contact the Information Commissioner's hotline on 1300 363 992.