Privacy policy

Background

As a federal government agency, ARPANSA is required to maintain a record setting out:

  • the nature of the various types of records of personal information kept by ARPANSA
  • the purpose for which the records are kept
  • the class of individuals to which the records apply
  • the period for which the records are kept
  • details of how individuals can get access to records about themselves.

ARPANSA holds five classes of personal information, including one class of personnel records. They are:

  1. Personnel Records
  2. Customer Records
  3. Research Records
  4. Administrative Records
  5. Complaints and Investigations

In relation to each class of personal information, individuals can obtain information regarding access to the information by contacting:

The FOI Coordinator
ARPANSA
PO Box 655
MIRANDA NSW 1490
Email:   foiatarpansa.gov.au
Telephone:   (02) 9541 8301

Classes of Personal Information Held

1. Personnel Records

See Description of Personnel Records for a generic description of Personnel Records held by ARPANSA.

2. Customer Records

ARPANSA aims to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation. ARPANSA applies national and international knowledge to promote national uniformity in radiation protection; regulate the use of radiation sources, facilities and nuclear installations controlled by the Australian Government; and promote public awareness of the harmful effects of radiation.

Concern about exposure to radiation has led to the development of a high standard of radiation protection and nuclear safety in Australia. ARPANSA provides services in the field of radiation protection. These services include:

  • Personal Radiation Monitoring Service monitors the exposures of workers in the medical, dental, chiropractic, industrial and mining fields to ionising radiation. As radiation doses have a cumulative effect a register of a workers dose is maintained for their lifetime. Dose information is provided to the worker to ensure that the recommended dose limit is not exceeded.
  • ELF Magnetic Field Meter Hire allows the public to measure the strength of magnetic fields generated by the passage of mains electricity.
  • Traceable calibrations of ionising and non-ionising radiation monitoring equipment used in various commercial, medical and public sector fields. The calibration services include medical and non-medical x-ray equipment, radon measuring equipment, radiofrequency radiation and magnetic field measuring instruments, radiotherapy dosimeters, diagnostic and protection level calibrations, and ultraviolet radiation measuring equipment.
  • Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) testing on fabrics and other materials. Over-exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) can cause sunburn, skin damage and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Clothing provides one of the most convenient forms of protection against UVR but not all garments offer sufficient sun protection. All fabrics have some ability to block UVR and laboratory testing is performed to determine how effective different fabrics are.
  • A Radiopharmaceutical Quality Assurance Test Program is conducted under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ARPANSA and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). As part of this MOU radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine in Australia are tested for compliance with specifications.
  • The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) issues Import Permit Releases for the importation into Australia of medical and non-medical radioactive substances. These permits are issued under Regulation 4R of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. In order to obtain release, the importing party is required to present to the Australian Customs Service a valid ARPANSA Import Permit Release with the signature of an authorised ARPANSA officer.
  • The Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS) provides medical physicists, radiation therapists and radiation oncologists employed in radiotherapy clinics with a source of independent checks for equipment and patient doses. These checks ensure the recipients of radiotherapy can have greater confidence that they are receiving the correct dose in their treatment. The ACDS provides a national approach to the maintenance and calibration of radiation dose measurements, making radiotherapy more consistent and safer.
  • The Radioanalytical service is a commercial service for the measurement of radioactivity in food samples. The service is also involved in method development and evaluation and undertakes research projects to determine levels of radioactivity in the environment and its implications and consequences for public health. Field-based spectrometry measurement systems are also developed and maintained.
  • The National Sealed Source Register (NSSR) maintains a national register of radioactive sources. The register gathers data from all jurisdictions and state and territory regulators. The register ensures that sources are identifiable and traceable, or where this is not practicable ensures that an alternate process for identifying and tracing those sources are in place.
  • The Australian National Radiation Dose Register (ANRDR) is designed to track uranium workers' dose records throughout their career in the uranium industry. This will allow individuals to move between companies, states and territories with the knowledge that their radiation dose is being recorded and stored on a single national database. This register has been developed by, and is operated and maintained by ARPANSA.
  • As a Commonwealth regulator, ARPANSA keeps track of the regulatory procedures, monitoring techniques and incidents as well as monitors the sources that are licensed by ARPANSA, through the Licence Administration Database (LAD).
  • The aim of the National Diagnostic Radiation Level Service (NDRLS) project is to work with the medical and paramedical professions to ensure the most effective use of ionising radiation in diagnostic imaging by undertaking surveys of patient exposures to assist in establishing Australian Diagnostic Reference Levels.

Content may include:

  • names
  • company name
  • address
  • contact details
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • occupation
  • financial records
  • occupational radiation dose, class and dose history
  • employment history.

Sensitive content may include an individual’s history of radiation exposure. The personal information on these records relates to:

  • occupationally exposed workers
  • commercial clients
  • medical practitioners
  • heads of government departments, state and federal
  • experts in their field
  • licence holders.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working in the particular section.

The records are kept for various periods, depending on agency requirements and in accordance with the Australian National Archives Disposal Schedules.

The personal information contained in these records may be disclosed to:

  • state health authority personnel
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
  • Customs Clearance personnel
  • Department of Health & Ageing
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
  • regulators
  • Minister.

Individuals can obtain information regarding access to personal information in this class of records by contacting the FOI Coordinator.

The records relate to approximately 190,400 individuals and are kept on paper and electronic media.

3. Research Records

ARPANSA has conducted a survey of power frequency magnetic fields in randomly selected homes in metropolitan Melbourne. ARPANSA has collected measurement data concerning these fields and stored the results in conjunction with the name, address and telephone number of the resident. Some sketches and details of the type and layout of the house and locations of major electrical equipment may also be recorded. In addition, ARPANSA will record answers to a short questionnaire, regarding the resident's view of how our staff carried out the survey, and their own perceptions about magnetic fields and potential health effects.

Other surveys conducted by ARPANSA include Radon Survey, WA Radon in Homes Survey, Solaria Survey, National Mammography Survey, CT Survey, Radiotherapy Survey, Medicare Survey, Diagnostic Imaging Survey, Electron Beam Survey and outdoor worker survey in Queensland measuring UV dose.

From 1957 to 1978, Australia measured strontium 90 in human bones to assess the impact of radioactive fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. The Australian program was frequently reported on by the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee and in scientific literature of the period. ARPANSA has inherited a large number of records about the program, many of which had been transferred when the group that had supported the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee was transferred to the Australian Radiation Laboratory in 1974.

Maralinga Veterans Dosimetry Study - Measurements of occupationally exposed workers in the Maralinga region post nuclear testing.

Content may include:

  • names
  • company name
  • address
  • contact details
  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • gender
  • occupation
  • results/measurements
  • radiation dose
  • employment details
  • names of relatives
  • name of hospital
  • medical information
  • name of physician.

Sensitive content may include an individual’s history of radiation exposure, medical information and racial or ethnic origin.

The personal information on these records relates to:

  • general public
  • medical practitioners
  • maralinga workers
  • deceased individuals.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working in the particular section.

The records are kept for various periods, depending on agency requirements and in accordance with the Australian National Archives Disposal Schedules.

The personal information contained in these records may be disclosed to:

  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • relatives
  • relevant hospitals.

Individuals can obtain information regarding access to personal information in this class of records by contacting the FOI Coordinator.

The records relate to approximately 5500 individuals and are kept on paper and electronic media.

4. Administrative Records

The purpose of these records is to:

  • Process correspondence (including submissions) addressed to the agency, or to the department or Parliamentary Secretary (on matters related to the role of the agency)
  • Maralinga Whole Body Dose Records. Measurements of workers and people publically exposed to the fallout
  • Fukushima Call Centre Register. This is a register of all phone calls and emails received and advice provided
  • ARPANSA is involved in several committees. These committees include:
    • Radiation Health Committee (RHC) - The RHC advises the CEO and the RHSAC on matters relating to radiation protection, including formulating draft national policies, codes and standards for the promotion of uniform national standards of radiation protection for consideration by the Commonwealth, states and territories
    • Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Committee (RHSAC) - The RHSAC advises the CEO on emerging issues and matters of major public concern relating to radiation protection and nuclear safety
    • Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) - The NSC advises the CEO and the RHSAC on matters relating to nuclear safety and the safety of controlled facilities, including developing and assessing the effectiveness of standards, codes of practice and procedures
    • Standards Committees
    • Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine.

Content may include:

  • names
  • company name
  • address
  • contact details
  • date of birth
  • occupation
  • gender
  • marital status
  • health status/records
  • names and health status of relatives
  • business affiliations
  • terms of appointment
  • financial records
  • resumes
  • employment details
  • medical records
  • radiation dose.

Sensitive information may include physical, medical or mental health and relationship details.

The personal information on these records relates to:

  • professional committee members
  • persons, communities or organisations who provide information to or requires information from the agency
  • Maralinga workers
  • individuals publically exposed to Maralinga fallout.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working in the particular section, line managers.

The records are kept for various periods, depending on agency requirements and in accordance with the Australian National Archives Disposal Schedules.

The personal information contained in these records may be disclosed to:

  • Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
  • employers (through legal process).

Individuals can obtain information regarding access to personal information in this class of records by contacting the FOI Coordinator.

The records relate to approximately 1850 individuals and are kept on paper and electronic media.

5. Complaints and Investigations

The purpose of these records is to:

  • Freedom of Information requests
  • maintain a database containing reports from individuals regarding their health concerns related to possible EMR field exposures in the range of 0-300 Ghz
  • maintain a database of radiation incident reports provided by Commonwealth, state and territory radiation protection authorities.

Content may include:

  • names
  • address
  • contact details
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • complaint/symptoms that are believed to result from exposure to electromagnetic radiation
  • source of electromagnetic radiation to which exposed.

Sensitive content may include an individual’s medical condition.

The personal information on these records relates to:

  • members of the public.

The following agency staff have access to this information: authorised staff working in the particular section.

The records are kept for various periods, depending on agency requirements and in accordance with the Australian National Archives Disposal Schedules.

The personal information contained in these records may be disclosed to:

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Individuals can obtain information regarding access to personal information in this class of records by contacting the FOI Coordinator.

The records relate to approximately 230 individuals and are kept on paper and electronic media.

Description of Personnel Records

Due to the commonality of these classes of records between agencies, they have been grouped in one entry.

This necessarily reduces the amount of detail provided. Current and former employees can obtain details of specific agency record handling practices by contacting personnel staff in that agency.

It should not be assumed that all records described are kept in a common storage facility. Separate security arrangements will typically apply, depending on the sensitivity of the information.

The purpose of these records is to maintain employment history and payroll and administrative information relating to all permanent, contract and temporary staff members and employees of an agency.

Personnel and payroll

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records relating to attendance and overtime
  • leave applications and approvals
  • medical and dental records
  • payroll and pay related records, including banking details
  • tax file number declaration forms
  • declarations of pecuniary interests
  • personal history files
  • performance appraisals, etc
  • records relating to personal development and training
  • trade, skill and aptitude test records
  • completed questionnaires and personnel survey forms
  • records relating to removals
  • travel documentation
  • records relating to personal welfare matters
  • contracts and conditions of employment
  • EEO data
  • next of kin details
  • work experience records.

Recruitment

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • recruitment records and dossiers
  • records relating to relocation of staff and removals of personal effects
  • records relating to character checks and security clearances.

Other

The records may include any one or more of the following:

  • records of accidents and injuries
  • compensation case files
  • rehabilitation case files
  • records relating to counselling and discipline matters, including disciplinary, investigation and action
  • files, legal action files, records of criminal convictions, and any other staff and establishment records as appropriate
  • complaints and grievances
  • recommendations for honours and awards.

The content of personnel records may include: name, address, date of birth, occupation, AGS number, gender, and qualifications, equal employment opportunity group designation, next of kin, details of pay and allowances, leave details, work reports, security clearance details and employment history.

Personnel records may include information which employees may consider sensitive such as: physical and mental health, disabilities, racial or ethnic origin, disciplinary investigation and action, criminal convictions, adverse performance and security assessments, tax file numbers, relationship details and personal financial information.

Personal information on personnel records relates to current and former staff members and employees including contract and temporary staff.

The following agency staff have access to personnel records:

  • executive and senior personnel management staff
  • supervisors and members of selection committees (if appropriate)
  • the individual to whom the record relates, and
  • as is appropriate, personnel staff, security officers and case managers.

Personnel records are kept according to the applicable provisions of the General Disposal Authority for staff and establishment records issued by Australian Archives.

Information held in personnel records may be disclosed, as appropriate, to:

  • Comcare
  • Commonwealth Medical Officers
  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Australian Public Service Commission
  • ComSuper and other superannuation administrators
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • the receiving agency following movement or reengagement of an employee.

Individuals can obtain information regarding access to their personal information by contacting the personnel section of the employing agency.

Records relate to all current and former employees of an agency and are stored on paper, microfiche and electronic media.

Location: the appropriate Central, State, regional office of the employing agency.