We are a fiercely proud community organisation. For our entire history, the work of ACON has been designed by and for our communities.
Established in 1985, our early years were defined by community coming together to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in NSW, and we remain committed to ending HIV for everyone in our communities. We do this by delivering campaigns and programs to eliminate new HIV transmissions. Supporting people living with HIV to live healthy and connected lives remains core to our work.
As we have grown, we have been proud to work with a diverse range of people to ensure their voice and health needs are represented in the work we do.
- We create opportunities for people in our communities to live their healthiest lives
- We strive to be a global leader in community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders
Our head office is in Sydney and we also have offices in regional centres across New South Wales. We provide our services and programs locally, state-wide and nationally.
Our primary funder is the NSW Government through the NSW Ministry of Health.
Our values inform who we are:
- Community – We are community made, and recognise our leadership role in the history and future of who we work for.
- Collaboration – We work in collaboration, respecting the unique experience, expertise and skills of our communities, partners and stakeholders.
- Informed – We remain informed, and rely on evidence, lived experience and consultation to make the best choices possible.
Our values inform how we work with people:
- Equity – We are committed to equity, noting that everyone faces unique barriers when creating a healthy life for themselves.
- Inclusion – We demonstrate inclusion, working with people who may experience exclusion and ensuring their meaningful involvement in our work.
- Compassion – We show compassion, knowing that individual experiences within our communities are diverse, and may be marked by stigma and discrimination.
Our values inform how we make decisions:
- Excellence – We strive for excellence, recognising our contribution to our communities’ health and the organisation’s potential for improvement.
- Courage – We show courage, recognising the need for strong leadership and honesty in overcoming challenges.
- Innovation – We encourage innovation to respond effectively to the changing needs of our communities.
Most people in our communities live happy, healthy and connected lives. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone.
We work for people living with HIV and people who are sexuality and gender diverse, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or queer.
We are part of communities that include people whose gender identity, sexuality, or bodies have been politicised and shamed when they should be celebrated and cared for.
We also recognise the peer led networks and organisations that work for some members of our communities and respect the importance of community led responses.
We acknowledge that the health needs of all the people ACON serves are not the same, but we share a common fight against stigma and discrimination that affects our health.
We know that the identities, paths and experiences of all people in our communities are shaped by a multitude of factors, including their cultural identities, where people live and socio-economic background.
We recognise that members of our communities share their sexual and gender identity with other identities and experiences and work to ensure that these are reflected in our work. These can include people who are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people who use drugs
- mature aged people
- young adults
- people with disability
We know that how our communities define and describe themselves change, and we strive to ensure that all people we work for feel welcomed by the services we offer and the language we use.
ACON’s work is focused on five areas:
Focus Area 1: Ending HIV transmission for all in our communities
- We provide up to date information and deliver innovative social marketing campaigns to our communities on a variety of sexual health issues.
- We develop peer-led prevention programs to reduce transmissions of HIV and other STIs in our communities.
- We improve access to testing with models that are responsive to the needs of our communities.
- We advocate for innovative responses to end HIV transmission and reduce STIs in Australia.
Focus Area 2: Delivering excellent, client-centred care and innovative community health programming
- We support people living with HIV to live fulfilled, healthy lives in which they are active members of their community.
- We ensure that our care and support services are of an excellent standard through ongoing needs assessment, co-design, inclusive marketing and ongoing evaluation.
- We ensure that our communities are actively and meaningfully included in our work and within our organisation.
- We seek to find better models of care and support for members of our communities that are left behind by current service provision, including the provision of support for young sexuality and gender diverse community members.
- We examine innovative ways to meet the health needs of our communities where they are at, including the establishment of an LGBT Health Centre.
Focus Area 3: Giving voice to our community and strengthening inclusion
- We ensure that ACON maintains meaningful involvement of people living with HIV, and ensures their strengths and concerns are shared with decision makers and the broader community.
- We amplify the voices of those we serve to ensure that decision makers are working with us to create opportunities for our communities to live their healthiest lives.
- We advocate for the meaningful inclusion, support and participation of our communities and the reduction of discrimination and stigma.
- We build strong partnerships and exemplify and share best practice models for inclusion and participation.
- We participate in and support research and strive for a strong evidence base to inform decisions made about our communities’ health.
Focus Area 4: Developing financial diversity, strength and growth
- We ensure that the health of our communities is a funded priority in mainstream health provision.
- We deliver bold and exciting revenue generation activities that appeal to our communities.
- We ensure diversification of our income sources to ensure that we can deliver against the health needs of our communities which may be underfunded.
- We make prudent decisions about investing our resources, and ensure that these investments are ethically sound.
- We endeavour to find efficiencies in spending and source talent and resources which are cost effective while upholding the standards of our organisation.
Focus Area 5: Building a workplace that attracts and develops the best people
- We create opportunities for staff and volunteers to develop their skills, ensuring a passionate, authentic and committed team.
- We provide a positive working environment in which staff and volunteers feel supported and justly recognised for the work they do.
- We are committed to creating an effective, efficient and healthy workplace, which will best serve our clients and communities.
- We develop strategic responses to ensure that staff and volunteers who are living with HIV, trans and gender diverse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally and linguistically diverse or living with a disability are supported towards excellence.
- We foster an environment of respect in which staff and volunteers feel supported to provide and receive feedback on their work.
How We Work
ACON has a strong international reputation and has developed considerable expertise in community mobilisation, social marketing, online engagement strategies, peer education, partnership, and policy and advocacy.
We help people living with HIV take control of their health, as well as the health of their partners, by providing up-to-date information and programs such as support services and workshops, counselling and home-based care.
We help our communities take control of their health so they can look after themselves as well as their partners, family and friends. We offer a range of services including sexual health, mental health, alcohol and drugs, safety and inclusion, domestic and family violence and ageing.
We have continued to evolve as an organisation, developing significant new programs and services to meet the needs of our community, especially in the areas of training, capacity building, cancer prevention, and clinical testing and screening services.
ACON’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024
ACON’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024
ACON Reconciliation Action Plans
In late 2016 ACON’s Board and Senior Leadership Team recognised the need to work in a more coordinated, culturally respectful and inclusive way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, service users and organisational partners. ACON initiated work with Reconciliation Australia to develop ACON’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is a formal framework for organisations to ensure their work supports the national reconciliation movement. Our collaboration with Reconciliation Australia has continued, most recently resulting in the production of ACON’s second RAP in 2020.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples remain a priority population under successive state and national health strategies, recognising that this population continues to be disproportionately impacted by poorer health outcomes across a number of areas, including HIV and STIs, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Smoking, Domestic and Family Violence and Social Inclusion.
With the implementation of ACON’s two RAP, our intention is to build on the partnership work ACON has already been doing. We aim to create a more strategic, collaborative and whole of organisation approach to our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our second ‘Innovate’ RAP was released internally in May 2020, with a community launch held online in June that featured singer-songwriter and story teller Aunty Dawn Daylight and poet Brooke Scobie, and was emceed by Will Trewlynn from BlaQ. You can watch the launch of our second RAP below.
The Innovate RAP 2020-22 strengthens the organisation’s commitment to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures, acknowledge our history, build closer relationships, and to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
You can access a public copy of our second RAP here.
If you have any feedback or would like to join the RAP Working Group, please fill out this short form or contact RAP@acon.org.au
Our first RAP was released in 2018, with community launches held in Sydney and across regional NSW during 2019.
You can access a public copy of our first RAP here.
ACON acknowledges and pays respects to the traditional custodians of all the lands on which we work. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
Keep updated with our RAP e-news. Sign up here:
Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW
In 2019 ACON launched the Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW.
The Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW (the Blueprint) outlines the key approaches required to improve the health outcomes of trans and gender diverse (TGD) people in NSW and to strengthen the inclusion of TGD people within ACON’s programs and services.
The Blueprint was developed with the support of ACON’s TGD Community Health Advisory Group, which comprised members of the TGD community, clinicians and community organisations.
The development of the Blueprint was informed by a comprehensive review of national and international literature, and an extensive consultation process. This consultation process included a community survey of over 450 people, six community meetings across NSW (Sydney, Newcastle, Lismore, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga and Liverpool) and key stakeholder interviews with TGD community leaders, GPs, endocrinologists, sexual health physicians, NSW Health officials, and human rights lawyers.
Anyone can access and use this Blueprint to support their local, state-wide and even national advocacy efforts that seek to progress and improve the rights, health and lives of TGD communities. ACON is proud to support this work and to continue raising the visibility of TGD community priorities and needs
- The Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW
- TEXT ONLY VERSION of the Blueprint
- Abridged Blueprint
- Discussion paper, Potential Priority Areas for ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Community Health Strategy
- Consultation Report ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Community Health Strategy
Incorporated in 1985 as the AIDS Council of NSW, ACON is widely recognised as an innovative and successful organisation which has adapted to changes in the HIV epidemic and responded early to emerging health issues among our communities.
Since our inception, we’ve been at the forefront of advocacy around issues relating to HIV and to sexuality and gender diverse health, drawing on our close connections to community to identify emerging issues and create dialogue around these issues with policy makers and researchers.
We’ve also worked alongside researchers and partners to build a stronger evidence base around HIV and sexuality and gender diverse health, much of which has subsequently affirmed the issues identified by our communities.
ACON Campaign Database
The ACON Campaigns Database is a digital archive featuring all the HIV and LGBTI health related social marketing campaigns that the organisation produced since it was established in 1985 in response to the epidemic.
Our 30th Anniversary
- 30 Years Of ACONIC Moments (Star Observer feature Aug 2015)
- ACON – Here For LGBTI Health and HIV For 30 Years (SX News 17 Aug)
- NSW Health Minister The Hon Jillian Skinner’s Speech at 30th Anniversary Reception
- ACON President Mark Orr’s Speech at the 30th Anniversary Reception
Our 25th Anniversary
- ACON President Mark Orr’s Speech at the 25th Anniversary Reception
- ACON’s first CEO Bill Whittaker’s Speech at the 25th Anniversary Reception
- United-We-Stand- DNA Article
- Herstory of ACON
- Lemon AIDS
- Lex Watson ACON President 1985 – 1986
- Bill Whittaker ACON CEO 1986 – 1990
- Levinia Crooks ACON President 1988 – 1989, 1991 – 1992
- Rolf Petherbridge ACON President 1990-1991
- Bruce Meagher ACON President 1994 – 96
- David Stone ACON President 1998 – 2000
- Stevie Clayton ACON CEO 2001 – 2009
Justin Koonin, President
BSc (Hons), PhD, CFA, FAICD
Justin has worked within LGBTQ community organisations for fifteen years. Internationally, he is co-chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee, of the WHO-hosted Social Participation Technical Network, and of the Civil Society Advisory Group for the SDG3 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, and is a member of multiple WHO expert panels. Justin is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of New South Wales, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Not-for-Profit Chairs Advisory Forum. He is trained as a mathematician, and currently works as an investment analyst. He has also worked as a postdoctoral research associate (at the University of Sydney), and as a consultant in the areas of predictive analytics and data.
Louisa Degenhardt, Vice President
BA (Hons), MPsychology (Clinical), PhD
Louisa is UNSW Scientia Professor, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW. She was awarded her PhD in 2003, examining the comorbidity of drug use and mental disorders in the Australian population. She has honorary Professorial appointments at University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and University of Washington’s Department of Global Health in the School of Public Health. Louisa conducts diverse epidemiological studies including data linkage studies focusing on people with extra-medical or dependent opioid use, chronic pain, analysis of large-scale community and clinical surveys, and cohorts of young people. She is currently CI with CI Dore and Farrell on an NHMRC Program Grant focussed on drug dependence and viral hepatitis.
Atari is an openly trans GP registrar with an interest in sexual and reproductive health alongside regular work in Emergency Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at St Vincent’s Hospital working across a variety of medical and surgical specialties in addition to completing secondments in paediatrics and Aboriginal health. Prior to practising medicine Atari spent 15 years working in health promotion research, policy and strategy within community and digital mental and sexual health services, as well as working as an analyst on national inquiries into asylum seeker, transgender and intersex health and human rights for the Australian Human Rights Commission. Before joining ACON’s Board Atari also served as a Board Director at Suicide Prevention Australia and as co-chair of Twenty10 incorporating NSW Gay and Lesbian Counselling Services.
BA (Hons), MPH, PhD
Benjamin has worked in the field of HIV prevention and research for over 15 years in Australia and internationally. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, and leads the Biobehavioural HIV Prevention Research Group. His research focuses on the biomedical, behavioural and epidemiological aspects of HIV prevention among gay and bisexual men in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. He worked at ACON in gay men’s peer education from 2004 to 2010.
BA (IR) Hons
Christian has experience in political advisory roles across three Australian jurisdictions and works as an adviser to the NSW Government. Christian is a mentor with the ANU Alumni Mentoring Program and has previously been a member of the Postgraduate Coursework Committee of the University of Sydney where he completed a Masters program.
Jason is a Wiradjuri start-up founder with extensive governance expertise and experience across community, corporate, government and philanthropy. He works as an adviser on strategy, leadership, governance and systems transformation working with leaders across the commercial, for-purpose, and creative sectors to create platforms for sustainable change. Jason is a Co-founder and Director of Native Foodways, was the inaugural Executive Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program and creator and inaugural CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. He was part of the start-up team that built Reconciliation Australia and served on its Board for five years. He is currently a member of the Boards of the GO Foundation and The Foundation for Young Australians, and, until recently, was Chair of PwC Indigenous Consulting and the Indigenous Governance Institute.
BSc, GradCertEdStud, PhD
Julie is an Associate Professor in Qualitative Research in Health at Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney where she teaches into the Master of Public Health. A social scientist, her research examines equity in health and health services in relation to sexuality, gender, indigenous status, and youth. She has been the joint coordinator of SWASH, the longest running regular survey of lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health, since 2009.
Somali has over 15 years of experience as a human rights and gender equality expert with an international profile. She has led large research and policy initiatives focussed on range of gender equality issues in Australia, the UK at the OECD and United Nations. Somali is currently a Program Director with the Male Champions of Change and supports Elizabeth Broderick’s international gender equality work including her role as an Independent Expert with the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women. Somali is also an Adjunct Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at The University of Sydney. She has previously been a Convener of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, a board member of the Inner City Legal Centre and Aurora Foundation. Somali is an Adjunct Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at The University of Sydney. She has a BA (UTS) and a Master of Science (Human Rights) (London School of Economics and Political Science).
SJD, BSc, LLB
Steven is a barrister specialising in town planning and environmental law. He has been HIV+ since May 1996, and lives life to the full. He is an avid competitive cyclist and amongst other races has competed 3x in the Race Across America, has won numerous golds in Gay Games, and holds the Australian record for the Hour Record (age). Steven seeks to confirm that HIV is no barrier to sport, both physically and socially, and that stigma and discrimination against HIV+ people is totally unwarranted. Steven speaks regularly to a range of groups about living with HIV.
Zoé de Saram PSM
Zoé is a highly respected professional with considerable experience in the design and execution of strategy, policy, and service delivery. She has held a number of senior executive roles in the NSW Government and has a deep understanding of the architecture of government and the way it operates. She is also very well connected to a diverse range of key personnel across Federal, State and Local governments. In February 2021, Zoé was appointed to the role of Director, Performance Audit, at the Audit Office of NSW. Prior to that she was Executive Advisor, Public Sector Practice at the North Point Consulting Group, a boutique firm specialising in designing and executing strategy, digitally enabled business models and business transformation. She is a member of LILY, a pay it forward mentoring program for a diverse group of women, and is actively involved in raising awareness about breast cancer and supporting women recovering from breast cancer.
Our Senior Leadership Team
Our Senior Leadership Team
Nicolas Parkhill AM, Chief Executive Officer
Nicolas Parkhill AM has over 30 years of experience in public and community health. Since 2009 Nicolas has been the CEO of ACON. Prior to this role Nicolas worked in a variety of senior management and policy roles for NSW Health and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. He has a background in health policy, social marketing campaign management and public relations. Nicolas is a former Board member of ACON, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and APCOM, the peak body in the Asia Pacific region for men who have sex with men and transgender people in relation to HIV, sexual health and wellbeing, and human rights.
Karen Price, Deputy CEO
Karen Price has 20 years’ experience in the health sector, in Federal and State Government roles, and the NGO sector. Karen has experience across HIV and sexual health, mental health, aged care, drug and alcohol, and anti-doping in sport. Across these roles, Karen has had extensive experience in policy and program development; partnership development, clinical service design and management; health promotion and campaign development; regulatory and statutory functions; monitoring and evaluation. Karen has represented the Australian Government at the UN, served on a number of advisory and governance boards, and has been involved in national research projects in an investigator and advisory capacity.
Matthew Vaughan, Director, HIV & Sexual Health
Matthew is the Director for HIV Sexual Health and ACON’s Principal Campaign Planner, where he leads the strategy and development of the multi award-winning campaign Ending HIV, which seeks to end HIV transmissions in NSW. Matthew has been working within the community services sector for the past 15 years working in a variety of roles within government, non-government and community-based organisations at state, national and international levels. Matthew has a love of technology and digital media, and specialises in how that passion can be used to build effective behaviour change interventions.
Dawn-Emsen Hough, Director, Pride Inclusion Programs
Dawn is the Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs (Pride in Diversity, Pride in Sport, Pride in Health + Wellbeing). Dawn started with ACON in 2009 speciﬁcally to develop and establish the national Pride in Diversity Program and to develop the Australian Workplace Equality Index (national benchmark on LGBTQ workplace inclusion). Since that time, the program has grown substantially and gained an international reputation for its leading practice and gold standard index. Dawn has a background in ﬁnancial services, talent management and organisational development with academic qualiﬁcations in adult education and cognitive science. Dawn was appointed Adjunct Senior Fellow at University of Queensland 2021.
Teddy Cook, Director, Community Health & Regional Services
Teddy Cook (he/him) has over 15 years’ experience in community health and non-government sectors. Joining ACON in 2012, Teddy is the Director, Community Health and Wellbeing where he oversees Clinical and Client Services, LGBTQ+ Community Health Programs and Pride Training. Teddy specialises in trans health and rights, community development, health promotion and program delivery. He led on the creation of TransHub. Teddy is also a researcher and Adjunct Lecturer at the Kirby Institute, UNSW and he joins ACON’s Senior Leadership Team as a proud queer man of trans experience.
Dr Susan Culverston, Director, Corporate Services
Susan has more than 20 years’ experience in management, administration and leadership across a range of environments including the corporate sector, not-for-proﬁt organisations and both Commonwealth and State public sectors. Susan has a Doctorate in Business Administration with the focus of her thesis being ‘Collaborations in the Not for Proﬁt Sector’. She is passionate about ensuring that organisations in the sector continue to adopt leading practices in governance and business management.
Brent Mackie, Director, Policy, Strategy & Research
During his more than 30-year career Brent Mackie’s work has included communications, media and social marketing, management, population health, social research, and policy and program development. Brent has worked in numerous senior leadership roles in both government and non-government organisations. Brent has a Master of Arts by Research in Health and Sexuality as well as degrees in sociology and communications. Brent has extensive experience in health research and is a passionate community advocate and volunteer.
Reg Domingo, Director, Marketing, Communications & Fundraising
Reg is ACON’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising. He has over 15 years’ experience in journalism, publishing, public relations and strategic communications. He has a background in news and feature writing, as well as radio broadcasting and digital media, specialising in LGBTQ issues. Over the years, he has held a number of senior roles in publishing overseeing editorial strategy, marketing, partnerships and business development.
Daniel McCarthy, Director, Regional Services
Daniel has 15 years’ experience in the health sector, including clinical healthcare delivery, HIV and sexual health, population health, clinical governance, and health service management. Daniel has a Master of International and Community Development as well as a Batchelor of Nursing. Daniel has significant experience in policy/program development and implementation, quality improvement, clinical services redesign, and community/client-centred healthcare. Daniel’s interests are in grass-roots community development and innovative approaches to wellbeing among LGBTQ+ people in rural, regional and remote settings.
Sabine D’Haeseleer, Company Secretary and EA to CEO
Sabine joined ACON in 2013 in the role of Executive Assistant to the CEO and was appointed by the ACON Board in 2018 as the Company Secretary. Sabine is originally from Belgium, where she studied business administration/secretariat and languages. She has spent most of her working life in Canada, Norway and Angola before moving to Sydney in 2001 where she continued to build her career in diﬀerent sectors and industries as a Senior Executive Assistant.
Download: ACON Health Limited Constitution (PDF) -128KB
Download: ACON Health Board Diversity Statement (PDF) – 113KB
Download: ACON Health Diversity Statement (PDF) – 943KB
Since 2001 ACON has undertaken regular internal and external reviews of our policies, practices and services in an effort to identify areas for improvement as well as areas of excellence.
ACON is peer- reviewed every three years using the Health and Community Services Standards developed by the Quality Improvement Council of Australia.
We have achieved National Accreditation after each external review. For more information contact our Quality Improvement Coordinator on 02 9206 2000.
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The contact information is:
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ACON makes every effort to ensure the quality of the information available on this website and updates the information regularly. Before relying on the information on this site, however, users should carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes, and should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances. ACON cannot guarantee and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information.
Links to external websites
This website contains links to external websites. ACON takes due care in selecting linked websites. It is the responsibility of the user to make their own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of information contained in linked external websites.
Linkage to external websites should not be taken to be an endorsement or a recommendation of any third party products or services offered by virtue of any information, material or content linked from or to this site. Users of links provided by this site are responsible for being aware of which organisation is hosting the site they visit.
Views or recommendations provided in linked sites do not necessarily reflect those of ACON.
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ACON accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user’s computer system, software or data occurring in connection with this website. Users are encouraged to take appropriate and adequate precautions to ensure that whatever is selected from this site is free of viruses or other contamination that may interfere with or damage the user’s computer system, software or data.
Privacy statement information
ACON makes every effort to comply with the Information Privacy Principles (1 –3, and 10 and 11) contained within the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 in the collection and privacy protection of its website users. A copy of the Act is available at SCALEplus the legal information retrieval system owned by the Australian Attorney General’s Department at http://scaleplus.law.gov.au.
If you have any privacy concerns, you should direct them to the ACON Online + New Media Producer.
ACON will only record your email address in the event that you send us a message by email or if you register requesting notifications. Registration for notifications may be made initially by email, postal mail or fax. Your email address will only be used for the purpose for which you have provided it and will not be added to any mailing lists without your prior consent by way of a specific request in writing. We will not use or disclose your email address for any other purpose, without your prior written consent.
Cookies and clickstream data
ACON uses a ‘cookie’ for maintaining contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file supplied by ACON and stored by the web browser software on your computer when you access ACON’s website. (An explanation of cookies generally can be found at the site of the Australian Privacy Commissioner).
The cookie enables ACON to recognise you as an individual as you move from one page to another. This cookie will be immediately lost when you end your internet session and shut down your computer.
Our copy of your information will be automatically deleted twenty minutes after you last used the system. This information is only used to help you use our website systems more efficiently, not to track your movements through the internet, or to record information about you.
Any system on this website that records information about you will specifically ask your permission first.
ACON makes a record of your visit and logs the following information for statistical purposes:
- the user’s server address
- the user’s top level domain name
- the date and time of access to the site
- pages accessed and documents down loaded
- the previous site visited
This information is analysed to show broken links in our website, traffic problems, and other site problems. We use this information to redesign for efficiency of use.
No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users or their browsing activities unless legally compelled to do so, such as in the event of an investigation, where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect the Internet Service Provider’s log files.
Information provided through the ACON website will comply with Information Privacy Principles (see Glossary below), and particularly principles 1 to 3 and 10 and 11. Stated simply these principles are:
- Principle 1 – Collection of information must be lawful and fair
- Principle 2 – Informing people why information is collected
- Principle 3 – Ensuring personal information collected is of good quality and not too intrusive
- Principle 10 – Limiting the use of personal information to the purposes for which it was collected
- Principle 11 – Preventing the disclosure of personal information outside the agency.
“Protecting the privacy of health information is an integral part of providing quality health care” (WHO)
This policy applies to the whole of ACON, the Board, staff (including all levels of management), volunteers and contracted service partners.
Client confidentiality has been an underpinning philosophy and foundation of ACON’s work since our inception in 1985. ACON supports the spirit of intent and complies with and where possible strives to exceed the requirements of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000.
Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000
The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 which amends the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, sets out your rights and ACON’s responsibility relating to any personal information held about you as an individual who uses ACON’s services. This policy does not apply to information held by ACON about staff or volunteers. Different legislation applies to staff and volunteer records.
The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (hereafter referred to as the Act) which includes the National Privacy Principles sets out how private sector organisations such as ACON should collect, keep, use and disclose personal information. ACON complies with and wherever possible strives to exceed the requirements of the Act. ACON complies with all of the National Privacy Principles.
The Act provides you as an individual with the right to know why ACON holds your personal information, what information is held about you, how ACON will use that information and under what circumstances your personal information may be divulged to others. You have the right to ask to see your personal information and for it to be changed or altered if incorrect or out of date. Under special circumstances ACON may refuse to allow you to see information held about you, in doing so, ACON in accordance with the Act is required to explain why. The Act stipulates that you may make a complaint if you think your information is not used or held appropriately and in accordance with the Act.
Personal information includes such things as your full name, date of birth, gender and address and other contact details. The Act recognises that information of a more sensitive nature may be collected by organisations such as ACON in order to provide you with, or refer you to particular services. Sensitive information is a subset of personal information. It means information or opinion about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record or health information about an individual
ACON will collect only the information, which is necessary to provide you with the highest standard of service.
- We will only collect information about you with your consent and by lawful means.
- When we collect your information you will be told what we will do with it and to whom it may be disclosed.
- Information about you will not be used in any way without your consent or other than for the reasons for which it was collected.
Where we have obtained information about you from someone other than yourself, we will take all reasonable steps to inform you about who we are, what we intend to do with your information, how you may access it and to whom it may be disclosed.
In other words where possible we will inform you of what will happen to your information as if we had collected it from you ourselves.
Use and Disclosure
Information about you will only be used or disclosed to others by ACON in ways which meet your expectations or are required by law. We will only use or disclose your personal information for a purpose other than the primary purpose for which it was collected if:
- the secondary purpose of collection is related to the primary purpose, and
- you would reasonably expect us to use or disclose information for that secondary purpose, or
- you have given permission for its use or disclosure
We will only use your information for the purpose of service promotion such as newsletters, pamphlets or fundraising providing you have given us permission to do so.
We will only use or disclose your information without your consent, when:
- it is in the interest of an individual’s health, life or safety, or
- in the interest of public health or safety, or
- we are required or authorised to do so by law
We may disclose health information about you to a person responsible for you such as a legally appointed guardian.
ACON will take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information collected, used or disclosed about you is as appropriate, accurate and as current as possible.
ACON undertakes to ensure that all personal information is kept in a secure place or manner. We will take all reasonable steps to protect your information from misuse, loss, unauthorised or unnecessary access, alteration or disclosure. ACON undertakes to destroy or de-identify your personal information when it is no longer required for any purpose by you or by law.
ACON has a complaints procedure for anyone who believes their information is not being handled properly or in accordance with this policy. A copy of ACON’s complaints procedure may also be obtained through the contact details.
Access and Correction
The only staff or volunteers who may access your information can do so only in the performance of their duties in the provision of a service to you or specifically at your request. Staff or volunteers may not divulge any identifying information about you to each other except that, which is necessary for them to do so in the performance of their duties.
ACON will provide you with access to personal information it holds about you upon your request. In some circumstances it may be inappropriate for ACON to comply with your request, such as where someone else’s privacy may be seriously breached, or where the request poses a threat to an individual’s health or safety. In such case, if we withhold access we will provide you with the reason for doing so.
At your request we will correct any out-of-date or inaccurate information. We will do this either over the phone or face-to-face. You may arrange an appointment to view your personal information or you may request a written copy.
To obtain access to, or copies of, or to correct or up-date your personal, sensitive, information you will need to complete a ‘Personal Information Inquiry’ form. To change just your contact details you will need to complete a ‘Change of Address’ form. Copies of both of these forms may be obtained either by telephoning or writing to us or by down-loading them from our web-site.
Our contact details are at the end of this document.
ACON does not use identifiers or reference numbers assigned by other organisations or government departments or services. Nor does ACON assign identifiers or reference to personal information records except where we have obtained your approval to do so, such as membership numbers or client case file numbers.
ACON does not release membership or client case file numbers to other organisations. Nor do we divulge any information that may in any way identify a particular individual to other organisations, or to ACON staff or volunteers.
Wherever practicable and lawful, and if you want to, we will provide you the option of interacting with ACON anonymously.
Transborder Data Flows
ACON will only send your information to a third party in a foreign country with your prior consent or if the information about you has protection substantially similar to the National Privacy Principles outlined in the Act.
ACON will not collect sensitive information about you without your consent unless, the collection is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to health or life, or the collection is required by law. ACON in some instances may collect information without an individual’s consent if the person concerned is physically or legally incapable of giving consent. ACON may also collect sensitive information without consent in accordance with rules established by competent health or medical bodies that deal with the obligations of professional confidentiality eg client case notes kept about counselling sessions with professionally recognised psychotherapists or session case notes kept by enhanced care project staff.
ACON Sydney – (02) 9206 2000
Northern Rivers – (02) 6622 1555
Hunter/Mid North Coast – (02) 4962 7700
Mid North Coast Outreach – (02) 6584 0943
Illawarra – (02) 4226 1163
The Privacy Commissioner’s web-site contains detailed information on privacy obligations including a copy of the Privacy Act http://www.privacy.gov.au and the Guidelines On Privacy In The Private Health Sector http://www.privacy.gov.au /health/guidelines/index.html#1 set out the standards for collecting, storing, using and disclosing personal information.
Acknowledgement: Use of Progress Pride Flag Design
ACON welcomes the Progress Pride flag
For decades, the Rainbow Flag – consisting of six colours – has been the most commonly-used flag to represent LGBTQ+ communities around the globe. But in more recent times, the Progress Pride Flag has been adopted by a growing number of people and organisations worldwide.
Designed by non-binary artist Daniel Quasar in 2018, the flag includes black and brown stripes to represent people of colour; and pink, pale blue and white stripes to include trans and gender diverse communities.
The increasing use of this flag reflects the broad drive in Australia and around the world to be more inclusive of the expansive breadth of identities within our communities.
As the language and our communities evolves, so do the symbols we use. As such, ACON is proud to use the Progress Pride Flag to ensure that we are an organisation that represents and reflects our unique and diverse communities.
ACON acknowledges Daniel Quasar as the designer of the Progress Pride Flag. We thank them for allowing ACON to use the design as we serve our communities.