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The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) with respect to collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

In performing our functions and administering our legislation, we may collect, hold, use or disclose your personal information. This includes personal information collected from you on a voluntary basis and information collected under the compulsory information gathering powers under the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Act 2015 (the Act), for example sections 37 and 47 concerning notices to a person to provide information and documents in relation to the Ombudsman’s own research and inquiries and in relation to hearings. The Privacy Act applies to information about individuals. Most small businesses are not covered by the Privacy Act, but some are. A small business is one with an annual turnover of $3 million or less. Annual turnover for the purposes of the Privacy Act includes all income from all sources. It does not include assets held, capital gains or proceeds of capital sales. Detailed information on the Privacy Act can be found on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Collection of personal information

We collect personal information through a variety of different methods including:

  • web forms;
  • face to face meetings;
  • the exchange of business cards;
  • telephone communications;
  • e-mail communications;
  • newsletter subscriptions;
  • ABFEO website; and
  • ASBFEO social media.

It is usual practice for us or an organisation acting on behalf of us to collect personal information directly from you or someone that you have authorised to provide information to us. 

Personal information that we will collect includes information in relation to the Ombudsman’s functions, particularly in relation to the assistance function and the advocacy function. In relation to the Ombudsman’s assistance function (Part 4 of the Act), the type of information ordinarily collected would include things like name, contact details and nature of your request for assistance.

Personal information may also be collected from you in relation to the Ombudsman’s advocacy function (see Part 3 of the Act) though the use of that information may differ compared to performing our assistance function. When we use your personal information to support our advocacy function we will remove personal identifiers to the extent possible.  

Under the Privacy Act, we are required to take contractual measures to ensure contracted service providers comply with the same privacy requirements applicable to us.

Sometimes we may collect personal information about you from a third party or a publicly available source, but only if you have consented to such collection or would reasonably expect us to collect your personal information in this way.

From time to time, personal information is provided to us without being requested by us.  When we receive such information, we will handle it in accordance with our obligations under the Privacy Act.

Data security

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all personal information in our possession or control is protected against loss, unauthorised access, misuse, disclosure or modification.

Access to personal information held is restricted to authorised persons who are our employees or contractors to us. 

Storage of personal information (and the disposal of information when no longer required) is managed in accordance with the Australian Government records management regime, including the Archives Act 1983 (Archives Act), Records Authorities and General Disposal Authorities. 

If a breach of the Australian Privacy Principle(s) has been identified, we will advise you of our findings and proposed follow up action which may include, for example, an apology, targeted staff training, revised security or storage arrangements, or amendment of forms to prevent similar situations arising. 

Purposes for which personal information is collected, held, used and disclosed

We only collect personal information for purposes which are directly related to our functions or activities, and only when it is necessary for or directly related to such purposes. 

These functions and activities include:

  • performing legislative and administrative functions;
  • complaints handling;
  • contract management;
  • responding to enquiries and correspondence from members of the public; and
  • responding to requests under the FOI Act and the Archives Act.

We will use and disclose personal information for the primary purposes for which it is collected, for example, to respond to the assistance sought, or to make referrals which the enquirer has consented to.  We will take reasonable steps to provide you with information about the primary purpose of collection at the time the information is collected or as soon as practicable after collection.   

Sometimes we will pass on personal information to other staff, government departments, or organisations.  We will only do so if the purpose of the disclosure is related to the purpose for which the information was collected.  We may also pass on personal information where it is required by law, for example where we are required to transfer a request for assistance to another agency (refer to section 69 of the Act) and where we will work collaboratively with other entities to provide assistance (refer to section 70 of the Act.  Where possible, we will notify you at the time we collect the information, or shortly after, if we are likely to pass the information on to another body and, if relevant, the bodies to which the information is likely to be given.

We will only use your personal information for secondary purposes where it is able to do so under the Privacy Act. 

Access to, and correction of, personal information

You have a right under the Privacy Act to access personal information we hold about you. 

You also have a right under the Privacy Act to request corrections to any personal information that we hold about you if you think the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading. 


Requests for access or correction, complaints about the ASBFEO’s compliance with the Privacy Act, or questions about this Privacy Policy can be directed to:


1300 650 460


Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
GPO Box 1791


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Whenever a web browser requests a file from the same web server that sent the cookie, the browser sends a copy of that cookie back to the server along with the request. In this way, the server knows you have visited before and can co-ordinate your access to different pages on its website. A server cannot find out a name or e-mail address, or anything about a user's computer, by using cookies.

Google Analytics

The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google Inc. ("Google"). Reports obtained from Google Analytics are used to help improve the efficiency and usability of this website.

Google Analytics uses first-party cookies and JavaScript code to gather statistics about how the website is accessed. It anonymously tracks how our visitors interact with this website, including where they came from, what they did on the site including such things as news registration. The information generated by the cookie and JavaScript code about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers located outside Australia. Google is based in the United States of America (USA). Should you wish to contact Google, you can find contact details on Google's contact us page.

Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of our website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf.

By using this website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner described in Google's Privacy Policy and for the purposes set out above. Relevant legislation of the USA will apply. You can opt out of Google Analytics if you disable or refuse the cookie, disable JavaScript, or use the opt-out service provided by Google.

Links to other sites

This site contains links to other sites. The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.

Social media

If you use the Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s social media pages, you are using an external site and are therefore bound by the privacy principles of that site. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of that site for further information. The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman does not endorse, and is not accountable for, any views expressed by third parties using that site.

The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman records all information posted to their social media channels and uses that information for the purpose of administering the channels, for record keeping and for considering and/or addressing any comments made. No attempt will be made to further identify social media subscribers except where requested and authorised by law.

Sharing our content through social media

The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman also uses interfaces with social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you choose to "like" or “share” or “recommend” information from this website through these services, you should review the privacy policy of that service. If you're a member of a social media site, the interfaces may allow the social media site to connect your visits to this site with other personal information.


Once we receive information from you via e-mail or any other means, the information is in a secure environment. Your personal information will not be released unless the law permits it or your permission is granted.

You need to be aware of inherent risks associated with the transmission of information via the Internet. Though minor, the potential does exist that your transactions may be viewed, intercepted or modified by a third party.

If you have any concerns in this regard, please contact the Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman on 1300 650 460.

Privacy Impact Assessment Register

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman conducts a privacy impact assessment (PIA) for all projects we reasonably consider involve any new or changed ways of managing, collecting, holding, using or disclosing personal information that is likely to have a significant impact on the privacy of individuals.

Date approved Project Description