RUDD GOVERNMENT MODERNISES ARCHIVES ACT
Senator the Hon John Faulkner
Special Minister of State
23 October 2008
The Parliament today modernised the Commonwealth's Archives Act.
This reform was long overdue.
In the 25 years since the Act was drafted, emerging technologies have dramatically changed the way in which affairs of government are transacted and information is recorded.
While the previous Act attempted to allow for the creation, capture and management of electronic records, its definitions were not rigorous enough.
As technologies surrounding records management advanced, the ALRC, as far back as 1998 recommended the problem should be fixed. The Rudd Government has taken early action to give effect to these long needed reforms.
The new Bill creates a new definition of a record as a document or an object in any form that has been kept for the information it contains or its connection with any event, person, circumstance or thing.
The new definition also gives legislative authority to a policy direction issued by the Archives in 1995 that accorded the same status to electronic records as to paper records.
The new Bill allows material held by departments and agencies to be treated as documents in the care of the Archives and part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth.
These changes will make it much easier for the National Archives and agencies to determine what’s in and what’s out in terms of record keeping, management and archiving.