Deny Access Facility

5.111 Centrelink has a ‘Deny Access Facility’ (DAF), which provides additional security to the records of customers who have genuine fears for their safety. Only designated Centrelink officers are able to access DAF records which thereby limits the potential for the computer records of DAF clients to be accessed inappropriately by Centrelink staff, either inadvertently or by reason of a deliberate breach. Customers who may be eligible to have their personal information on the DAF include customers who are escaping domestic or physical violence.

ALRC’s views

5.112 The ALRC is interested in comment about whether a person should be placed on the DAF upon the request of a person who has disclosed safety concerns. This reform may have resource implications, as the number of Centrelink staff with DAF access, while necessarily limited, may need to increase to deal with a corresponding increase in people whose information is on the DAF. If this proposed reform would cause a significant resource issue, or undermine the integrity of the process—given the necessarily restricted staff members who may access DAF files—it may be more appropriate for a DAF to be granted upon a Centrelink social worker’s recommendation.

5.113 These alternative proposals would be complemented by the proposals made in Chapter 4, in particular proposals about providing information, screening, safety concern flags, information sharing, and referrals to Centrelink social workers when customers disclose family violence.

Proposal 5–9 A Centrelink Deny Access Facility restricts access to a customer’s information to a limited number of Centrelink staff. The Guide to Social Security Law should be amended to provide that, where a customer discloses family violence, he or she should be referred to a Centrelink social worker to discuss a Deny Access Facility classification.

Question 5–2 Should Centrelink place a customer who has disclosed family violence on the ‘Deny Access Facility’:

(a) at the customer’s request; or

(b) only on the recommendation of a Centrelink social worker?