3.5.6 Collecting information | Compensation and Support Reference Library, Overpayment Management Manual, Ch 3 Detection, 3.5 Denunciations

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3.5.6 Collecting information

3.5.6.1Any information collected must be in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles and DI B48/92. Collection of information must be justified as being correct and relevant under the Privacy Act 1988.

3.5.6.2Some information is readily available, commercially or publicly without a formal request under section 128 VEA. There may be some variation from State to State, but generally the sources would include the Electoral Office, Motor Vehicle Registry, the Land Titles Office and possibly the Registrar Generals Office. Some of these offices will give a government department, termed a prescribed authority, access to do their own search. Most require a letter from the Department authorising and identifying the officer.

3.5.6.3The information available from these sources includes full name and address, date of birth, occupation, ownership of property, mortgages, details of motor vehicles owned and disposal of previously owned motor vehicles. Information on births, deaths and marriages, company registrations etc held by the Registrars Office may not be available in some States except to members of the family or their solicitor.

3.5.6.4If there is any doubt that in the process of the search, information identifying the pensioner may be given out, it is essential to conduct the search under section 128 VEA. To divulge any information which would identify a pensioner is a breach of the Privacy Act 1988. Section 128 VEA requests should be employed to protect the Department rather than to force a third party to divulge information. When the information can be obtained without divulging to a third party any information which would identify the pensioner, a section 128 request is not required.

3.5.6.5Investigations should be continued until the examiner is satisfied that sufficient information has been obtained to make a decision on whether further action is required. The outcome of the investigation should be documented and filed.