Information: the currency of the digital economy

Media release: Tuesday, 10 June 2014

'Information is an asset – as important as cash, property and machinery,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia.

With the Commonwealth's Digital Transition deadline fast approaching the National Archives has stepped up its message to agencies to be digitally ready by 2015.

The conference, Information: the currency of the digital economy, recently held in Canberra, highlighted the value of information and the need for digital content to be described, shareable and re-usable.

'Good outcomes – whether it's the bottom line in private enterprise or the development and implementation of good government policy – all come back to the availability and quality of information that decisions are based on.

'The corporate sector tends to better understand the value of information. Successful organisations pour billions into managing their information assets, protecting their intellectual property and using their data to predict future demand.'

'Just like any other asset, information can be used, and re-used, to generate value, wealth and prosperity.'

The Archives is leading the Australian Government's Digital Transition Policy, aiming to reduce stockpiles of paper records, reduce storage costs and create faster, more efficient retrieval. It will no longer accept paper versions of digital records created after 2015.

'Intrinsic value, where it actually exists, will be respected,' he said. 'Let me remove doubt – the handwritten note to you from Her Majesty the Queen will be preserved on the original note paper; however the all-staff email printed on a sheet of paper has no intrinsic value – so we'll keep the digital version.'

'Even legal processes are outstripping many other public-sector bodies in embracing the need for managing digital records,' said Mr Fricker. 'The Commonwealth Evidence Act, for example, provides for documents created and maintained in electronic form to be admitted in evidence before federal courts.'

Digital records are more desirable because the identification, search and analysis of digital records are more effective and efficient.

The conference was opened by the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for Communications. Guest speakers included Professor John McMillan AO, Australian Information Commissioner Dave Adamson, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

A webcast of the opening session and presentation transcripts are available at:

Contact information

  • Lisa McKelvie (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 6269 m 0401337069 e
  • Kerry Moir (Director - Agency Capability Development)
    t (02) 6212 3639 m 0427853664 e
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