The Structure of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia (‘the Society’) is a member of an international confederation.  In Australia, the Society governs itself using a federated model, through a national council, six state councils and two territory councils.

National Council approves the legal entities that operate in Australia in the name of the St Vincent de Paul Society. 

Under The Rule, the National Council is the Society’s superior council in Australia (The Rule Part II, Art. 1.6).

Each of the Society’s nine councils in Australia is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC).  In this policy, these councils are collectively referred to as ‘the Society in Australia’ or ‘the Society’.  Together the nine councils assist the Society’s members to carry out good works.

Each of the nine councils has established a civil incorporated entity as the vehicle to deliver charitable works within their jurisdiction.  National Council and some of the state and territory councils have established and control separate subsidiary legal entities to assist in the delivery of the Society’s good works.  Each subsidiary entity is registered with the ACNC.

National Council

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia is united in its spirituality and management through the International Confederation of the St Vincent de Paul Society (The Rule, Part II, Art. 1.1).

National Council is instituted by the International Council General (The Rule, Part III, Art. 15) and follows the international and Australian statutes outlined in The Rule.  The International Confederation’s governance arrangements are outlined in The Rule; accordingly, the National Council is the Society’s superior council in Australia (The Rule Part II, Art. 1.6).

National Council, in collaboration with each State and Territory Council, authorises the establishment of the legal entities that operate in Australia in the name of the St Vincent de Paul Society. 

The charitable functions of National Council are carried out by the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc. (‘the Association’). The Association is the civil incorporated body of National Council under the Incorporated Associations Act 1991 (ACT).

The Society’s Privacy Policies

National Council, each state council and territory council and each subsidiary entity has its own Privacy Policy and procedures as required by Commonwealth and State or Territory law.

National Council requires each council, each council’s incorporated entity and any subsidiary entity to have privacy policies and procedures in place ensuring that all Society members, volunteers and employees follow the Society’s privacy policies that apply to them.  Compliance with the legal requirements applying to privacy policies and procedures in each state and territory is the responsibility of the relevant State Council or Territory Council.

A list of each state’s and territory’s privacy policy is listed at Appendix 1 of the National Council Privacy Policy.

National Council’s Privacy Policy is a cornerstone of the organisational culture of providing a secure environment for the appropriate and legislative obligations for collecting, using, storing and disclosing of personal information


NOTE: The National Privacy Policy applies to the National website.  When a reader accesses a state or territory site, away from the main site, the relevant jurisdictional privacy policy will apply.


What is Personal Information?

Personal information means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable, whether the information or opinion is true or not, and whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not. 

Sensitive information is a type of personal information and includes health information, genetics, race, political opinion or membership, religion, philosophical beliefs, union membership, sexual preference and criminal record. 

Health information includes information about physical or mental health or a disability an individual has had at any time, an individual’s express wishes about future provision of health services to him or her, any health service that has been or is to be provided to an individual, any personal information collected to provide or in providing a health service, information collected in connection with a donation or intended donation of body parts, organs or body substances, genetic information that is or could be predictive of health at any time of the individual or a relative of the individual and healthcare identifiers. 


What kind of Personal Information does the Society collect? 

In certain circumstances, we may collect personal information about you, for example when you contact us, apply for a job or volunteer position, make a donation, use our services or join our mailing list. The type of information we collect may include (but is not limited to): 


  • your name and date of birth;
  • your contact details, such as home and email addresses, and telephone number;
  • information about your personal circumstances (eg: marital status, gender, job title and relevant information about your partner and children);
  • information about your background (eg: ethnicity, languages spoken, medical history, health and disability information);
  • bank or credit card details; and 
  • photographs (where your identity is clear or can be reasonably ascertained from the relevant image).

Where we collect sensitive information from you, including health information, we will do so only with your consent, where you provide such information voluntarily or where otherwise authorised by law. You may withdraw your consent for the Society to retain this information at any time. 

From time to time, we may also receive unsolicited information, being information that we have not taken active steps to collect. Examples include misdirected mail, unsolicited employment applications and promotional flyers containing personal information. 

When we receive such information, we will decide within a reasonable period whether we could have collected it pursuant to the requirements in the APP. If we determine that we could not have collected the information, we will destroy or de-identify it as soon as practicable. Alternatively, if we determine that we could not have collected the information and wish to retain it, we will deal with this information in accordance with our obligations under the APP. 

How does the Society use or disclose Personal Information? 

The primary purposes for which we collect, use and disclose personal information are to: 

  • provide, administer, improve and personalise our services and goods;
  • process donations and payments;
  • identify individuals;
  • assess applications for support or assistance;
  • provide support and assistance to those in need;
  • assess employee or volunteer applications;
  • conduct surveys and research;
  • protect our lawful interests; and
  • respond to your queries or concerns.

We may also collect, use and disclose personal information in connection with lawful information requests from courts, government agencies and lawyers and in connection with suspected fraud, misconduct or unlawful activity.


The Society’s website uses geographical directing when website users wish to make a monetary donation. When people donate moneys to the Society, they are directed to the various web-based donation platforms that are offered by each state and territory. When donating moneys to the Society in a state or territory, the personal information entered on the website is stored by the relevant state or territory, in accordance with their relevant Privacy Policy. The listing of the Society’s state and territory privacy policies is included at Appendix 1 in the National Council Privacy Policy.


How does the Society hold and secure Personal Information?


The Society handles personal information electronically and in hard copy form, both at our own premises and with the assistance of our service providers. In either case, a range of measures are implemented to protect the security of that personal information. We also take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify personal information where it is no longer needed for a permitted purpose.

How does the Society treat information disclosed through its websites?


The Association directly handles personal information electronically and in hard copy form, with data secured either at National Council premises or remotely.

The Association may contract third parties to conduct its primary purpose and in doing so, they may collect personal information through software or external software and save personal information at physical premises or off site. In all instances, a range of measures are implemented to protect the security of that personal information. The Association takes reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information where it is no longer needed for a permitted purpose.

Measures include retaining electronic records in a database that requires a two-factor authentication process to logon. Hard copies of personal information are stored securely.


How can you request access or amendments to your Personal Information or make a complaint?


An individual may formally request access to their personal information held by the Association at any time.

If an individual has any queries or concerns about the personal information that may be stored or they wish to access or correct any of the personal information that may be held about them, they can make a request using the details below.

The Association will always need to verify an individual’s identity before a response can be prepared.

When making an access or correction request, individuals are asked to provide details of the particular information being sought, to assist in locating the information.

The Association will deal with complaints relating to privacy issues in accordance with National Council’s Complaints Management Policy.

The Society takes privacy concerns very seriously. Where an individual expresses any concerns that National Council or the Association has interfered with their privacy, the Association will respond to let them know who will be handling their complaint and when they can expect a further response (generally within 30 days after a complaint has been received and acknowledged).

Contact: Privacy Officer
Post: PO Box 243, Deakin West ACT 2600
Domestic: (02) 6202 1200
International: +61 2 6202 1200

For information about privacy generally, or if an individual has any concerns about how the Association has resolved a complaint regarding their personal information to their satisfaction, individuals can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner:
Post: GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992


NOTE: This Policy does not apply to the personal information of employees of the Society – if you are an employee, please contact our human resources team for more information about your privacy. 

National Council will publish and update this Policy on its website ( and will make available a copy of the policy on request.