Changing to a digital environment

Media release: Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A plan to move government agencies from paper records to digital information and records management was presented today in Canberra by the Director General of the National Archives of Australia, David Fricker.

The Digital Continuity Plan has been developed by the Archives as a key element of a new whole-of-government policy that will see all Australian Government agencies change to a comprehensive digital information and records management regime.

Mr Fricker said in a digital world it was no longer feasible or practical for government agencies to continue to manage and store paper records.

'A survey conducted by Archives in 2010 showed that by 2014 the total volume of electronic records which agencies expect to create will be more than 10.7 million gigabytes - and that's just the new records, not the overall amount of information that needs to be managed. This explosion in information means traditional paper storage of records is simply not an option.

The benefits of digital records management include savings of millions of dollars in reduced storage costs. There are also substantial cost benefits relating to searching for and retrieving records and legal discovery and freedom of information requests. For the public, the successful transition by agencies to a digital environment as part of more open government will improve transparency and accountability.

Despite these benefits and although all agencies now work in a digital environment, many continue to convert digital records to paper for storage and management, missing out on business and cost efficiencies,' Mr Fricker said.

The Archives is leading the implementation of the Government's Digital Transition Policy in consultation with the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

'We are working with agency heads to implement change including the development of the Digital Continuity Plan and other practical guidance for agencies in managing their digital information and records.

The plan provides guidance for agencies to ensure their digital information and records remain accessible and usable for as long as required. It is intended to promote better information management practice and avoid unnecessary stockpiles of digital records into the future,' Mr Fricker said.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Melanie Harwood (Assistant Director, Communications)
    t (02) 6212 3755 m 0422 535 213 e melanie.harwood@naa.gov.au

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