It’s Privacy Week, an opportunity for the whole organisation to take a moment to take stock of the types of information we deal with and make sure we are handling that information for its intended purpose.

What is Privacy Week?

The international theme for Privacy Week 2024 is Busting Privacy Myths. The purpose of this week is to promote privacy awareness, inform individuals of their rights and educate organisations of their responsibilities. It is important that we only use personal information for the reasons it was collected.  

Fire and Emergency information you need to know

At Fire and Emergency, we deal with a lot of information every day and often that information is of personal nature or sensitive and needs to be treated appropriately. To help us, we have our Privacy policy which sets out expectations for all personnel who handle personal information. And if you are ever concerned about an inappropriate use or disclosure of personal information, we have our Managing privacy incidents guidelines ready to assist. 

As a large organisation, we also get our fair share of Privacy Act requests from individuals and have some guidance to help if you receive such a request at What it means and how to respond to requests or complaints

We also have resources in the Learning Station to help everyone understand and learn about managing information responsibly, you can check those out here(external link).

Busting some privacy myths

In keeping with the theme of the week, our Privacy Officer has provided a few common myths around privacy.

1. Fire and Emergency does not have to provide individuals with the information we hold about them

Myth! Any request made for personal information needs to be assessed under the Privacy Act 2020. The Information Requests Team responded to over 40 requests for personal information in the 2023 calendar year and are always there to help. Email if you need any assistance with a Privacy Act request.  

2.  Personal information can only be found in formal documents and emails

Myth! Personal information can be held on any electronic device, including but not limited to: Outlook, Teams, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Gmail and text messages. This can include information stored on your personal phone.  

3.  There are 13 privacy principles set out in the Privacy Act 2020

Fact! These principles outline how an organisation can collect, store and disclose personal information. More information on these principles can be found on the Privacy Commissioners website(external link) and in our own Privacy policy.

4.  The Privacy Act 2020 is a barrier to us using personal information to do our jobs

Myth! The Privacy Act 2020 sets standards to keep personal information safe, but is also enabling of the use of personal information when appropriate – often the Privacy Act is seen as a barrier by agencies who consider it too restrictive. During Privacy Week, the Government Chief Privacy Officer team is presenting a session on ‘Sharing personal information: why aren’t we sharing when we have authority to do so?’ to dispel some of the misinformation about information sharing. You can register for the event and find more information about other Privacy Week events at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner site here(external link).

Privacy information at Fire and Emergency

Visit the Privacy page on the Portal for information about the Privacy Officer, the Privacy Policy and Guidelines for privacy complaints and incidents. Alternatively, you can contact our Privacy Officer at  if you have a privacy query or if you think a privacy breach has occurred.



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