Cessnock City Council has an obligation to protect the privacy of its customers. This Privacy Statement explains how your personal information (being information capable of identifying you as an individual) will be treated as you access and interact with Council.
Council is bound by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act), the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) (HRIP Act) and its corresponding regulations.
Our Privacy Management Plan is designed to introduce policies and procedures to maximise compliance with the PPIP Act and the HRIP Act. In particular, the plan informs the community about how their collected or unsolicited personal information will be used, stored, disclosed and accessed and informs Council staff of their obligations in relation to handling personal information and when they can and cannot disclose, use or collect it.
Council also relies on exemptions to the PPIP Act provided to it in the Privacy Code of Practice for Local Government (the Privacy Code).
What is personal information?
Personal information is information or an opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion. This information can be on a database and does not necessarily have to be recorded in a material form.
What is not personal information?
The PPIP Act ceases to cover personal information about an individual that is contained in a publicly available publication. We consider the following to be publicly available publications:
- an advertisement containing personal information in a local, city or national newspaper,
- personal information on the internet, including social media,
- books or magazines printed and distributed broadly to the public,
- Council Business papers or that part that is available to the public,
- personal information that may be part of a public display on view to the public.
The following information is also not personal information:
- information about someone who has been deceased for more than 30 years, and
- information or an opinion about a person’s suitability for employment as a public sector official.
Your personal information
By using this website, you consent to Council handling, using and disclosing your personal information to its agents or sub-contractors for the purposes described in this Privacy Statement and within Council’s Privacy Management Plan. If you do not consent to any such disclosure, please contact Council via the channels below.
Help us ensure we hold accurate information
We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the personal information we collect or receive, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, the accuracy of that information depends to a large extent on the information you provide.
That is why we recommend you keep us up-to-date with changes to your personal information.
Any personal information you provide us may be used:
- for the purpose for which it was collected or provided, whether that be transactions carried out on this website or not,
- for a purpose other than for which it was provided or collected and this latter purpose is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected or provided,
- to understand community and customer needs to improve our services whether through a statutory submissions process, a public exhibition of Council information, or surveys conducted by Council or its agents,
- to administer and personalise this website for you,
- to provide you with Council services and facilities,
- to let you know about our services or other information available e.g. newsletters,
- within other sections of Council, its agents and contractors to expedite services to our customers. The PPIP Act also binds our agents and contractors.
Any personal information may be used for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was provided or collected in the following circumstances:
- where the use or disclosure is for the purpose of undertaking Council’s lawful and proper function/s and Council is satisfied that the personal information is reasonably necessary for the exercise of such function/s, or
- where personal information is to be used or disclosed for the purpose of conferring upon a particular person, an award, prize, benefit or similar form of personal recognition, or
- where the use or disclosure is necessary in order to action or facilitate a response to your enquiry or any contact made with or provided to Council.
For example with respect to exemption (1) above, the Rates Record that Council holds under section 602 of the Local Government Act 2009 (NSW) may also be used to:
- notify neighbours of a proposed development; or
- evaluate a road opening; or
- evaluate a tree preservation order, or
- make contact with individuals in relation to COVID19, a natural disaster or any other devastating events, or,
- investigate, review or look into allegations made against individuals in terms of Council’s compliance and enforcement, and other regulatory powers such as development and building compliance, environmental compliance, and animal companion matters.
We will only disclose your personal information if:
- you have given actual or implied consent to disclose, or
- the disclosure is required or permitted by legislation, or
- it is necessary to lessen a treat to someone's life or health.
Your personal information may need to be accessed, disclosed to used by other Council departments to deal with your matter
Sometimes in order for your matter to be dealt with, it may need to be provided to another department within the Council. If you do not consent to this, you must notify Council that you do not consent to this.
For example, if you contact Council’s Development Services Team but you do not wish for the Rates team to have access to and use your personal information, you will need to specify this at the time of contact, and request that the officer notes this on your file, that you do not wish for your personal information to be accessed, disclosed or used by the Rates team. In the absence of such an explicit request, Council may allow for other Council departments to handle, access, use or disclose your personal information if necessary as outlined in this Privacy Statement.
Information marked ‘Confidential’ and/or ‘for the addressee only’
The only time your personal information will be kept securely and confidentially is if you send correspondence via post in writing marked ‘Confidential and for the addressee only’.
Consultation will be undertaken with you before sending or providing it to a Council Official other than the one named within your contact or correspondence as the recipient.
What is not considered confidential correspondence or contact is:
- any electronic correspondence sent or contact made with Council or Councillors, whether by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or any other Council email address,
- any contact with Council’s online chat or social media,
- phone calls to Council’s customer service centre or other Council facilities,
- completing an online form,
- hard copy letters and correspondence sent to Council’s postal address not marked ‘Confidential and for the addressee only’.
In accordance with Council’s Code of Conduct only code of conduct complaints are to be dealt with under Council’s Code of Conduct Procedures. Complaints that do not satisfy the definition of a code of conduct complaint are to be dealt with under Council’s routine complaints management processes.
However, if such complaints involve allegations about your privacy and personal information, the complaint will be dealt with as per Council’s Privacy Management Plan. This may require the complaint to be allocated to another Council Official for action and/or investigating.
Councillors and the Administration
The Councillors, including the Mayor, comprise the governing body of Council and are responsible for the strategic direction of Council. The General Manager is responsible for conducting the day-to-day management of Council’s affairs. The General Manager and the staff comprise the Administration of the Council.
The governing body is required to consult with the General Manager in directing and controlling the affairs of Council. As a result, any information relating to the affairs of Council, including personal information, which Councillors receive, must be forwarded to the administration staff for a response or action.
When you visit our website to read or download information, the following information will be recorded for statistical purposes:
- your server's address,
- the name of the top level domain from which you access the Internet (for example, .gov, .com, .edu, .org, .au, .nz etc),
- the type of browser you use,
- the date and time you accessed this site,
- the pages you accessed and the documents you downloaded,
- the previous Internet address from which you linked directly to this site, and
- the Internet address to which you link directly from this site.
How do we use the information collected?
The information collected during each visit is used to create a statistics summary which allows Council to assess the number of visitors to the different sections of our sites, discover what information is most and least used, determine technical design specifications, and help make our sites more useful to visitors.
Is the information stored securely?
Yes. Information collected is stored in a secure format and protected by encryption technology, and held for archival purpose. If the information is no longer required for its intended purpose, it will be disposed of in accordance with General Authority 45 as issued under the State Records Act 1998 (NSW). Council’s Privacy Management Plan outlines how Council stores information to collects and receives.
Under the PPIP Act, you have the right to access any of your personal information we hold, without excessive delay or expense.
You also have a right to have your personal information corrected, in certain circumstances. If you have any queries about privacy or wish to access or correct your personal information, click here. Alternatively, contact us on (02) 4993 4100 or via email email@example.com.
We will take reasonable care to make sure that your personal information we collect, use or disclose is accurate, complete and up to date. We will also take reasonable care to protect the personal information we hold from misuse, unauthorised access and modification.
To request a review of a Council decision relating to personal or health information, please complete an application for internal review.
What happens when you call Council?
When you contact Council’s Customer Relations team by phone your call may be recorded. Information you provide to us will be collected, held, used and/or disclosed for the following purposes:
- to assist you with your enquiry,
- for quality assurance and training purposes,
- for complaint handling,
- to contact you in relation to continuous improvement of Council’s operations and services,
- and for any other purpose outlined in Council’s Privacy Management Plan and this Privacy Statement.
Recordings are stored on Council’s computer servers within Council’s phone system for a period of 12 months, unless retained for longer. Council’s servers are held at 62-78 Vincent Street, Cessnock 2325. Please refer to this page for more information on how to access your personal information Council holds.
For the security of our customers, payment transaction information is not recorded – the call is paused in order for the customer to provide this information and the call is resume after this information is provided.
If you do not consent to having your call recorded, please advise the Customer Relations team member you are speaking to that you opt out. If you do opt out, Council will still handle and manage your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Management Plan and this Privacy Statement as legally required, but not for the purposes listed in 3. and 4. above.
Other Important Information
We track the pattern of visitor usage using a facility called a cookie. This cookie identifies and recognises the computer (but not the person using the computer) when you visit Council's website.
Cookies are pieces of information that a website can transfer to an individual's computer hard drive for record keeping.
Links to other websites
Our website contains links to other websites. These linked sites are not under the control of Council.
We are not responsible for the management or protection of any personal information you provide to these sites.
Before you disclose personal information on any other website we recommend you examine the terms and conditions of using that website.
We take all reasonable steps to protect the privacy of children.
We asks that children under the age of 18 have a parent or guardian submit personal information on their behalf when required.
Contacting by email
We will only record your email address if you choose to send us an email. The email address is only used for the purpose for which you have provided it to Council and is not added to any mailing list. We will not use your email address for any other purpose unless we are required to do so by law, and will not disclose it without your consent.
Changes to this statement
We will occasionally update this Privacy Statement. When it is updated Council will revise the 'last updated' date at the top of the statement. It is your responsibility to check the website for any such changes to ensure that you are familiar with them.
Privacy Complaint - Request for internal review
If you feel that we have not adequately protected your privacy, please contact Council’s Privacy Contact Officer on 02 4993 4100 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. The Privacy Contact Officer who is our Public Officer and Director of Corporate and Community Services will assist in addressing your concerns.
Should you still be dissatisfied, you can lodge an application for an Internal Review with Council. Alternatively, you may contact the Information & Privacy Commission NSW for assistance. More details regarding privacy can be found on the IPC's website and in particular handling privacy complaints.
We reserve copyright on our publications.
The content of this site is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of any such content may be reproduced, modified, adapted or published in any way for any commercial purposes whatsoever.
Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed in writing to:
Cessnock City Council
PO Box 152
CESSNOCK NSW 2325
We have no control over the content of material accessible on any site cross-referenced. Accordingly, it is the responsibility of the internet user to make their own decisions about the relevance or accuracy, currency and reliability of information found on other sites.
In addition, we do not necessarily endorse or support the views, opinions, standards or information expressed at linked sites. They have been set up as information sources only.
We are committed to quality service and we make every attempt to ensure accuracy, currency and reliability of the data contained in these documents. However changes in circumstances after time of publication may impact the quality of this information. It is the user's responsibility to make their own decisions about the correctness of information found.
The Information and Privacy Commission provides information further about privacy through the following fact sheets:
The PPIP Code of Practice for Local Government - This Privacy Code of Practice is made under Part 3 Division 1 of the PPIP Act. The effect of this Code is to modify:
- The Information Protection Principles contained in Part 2, Division 1 of the PPIPA; and
- The provisions of Part 6 of the PPIPA Act, as they relate to Local Government.
How to contact
If you have any questions please contact us or telephone our customer service team on (02) 4993 4100. Other information can be obtained from the NSW information and Privacy Commission.
Information and Privacy Commission contact details
NSW Information Commissioner – Elizabeth Tydd
NSW Privacy Commissioner – Samantha Gavel
GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
Level 11, 201 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
1800 472 679