National Archives of Australia
National Archives of Australia Advisory Council
Annual Report 2017–18

Overview of the National Archives

Roles and functions

The National Archives of Australia is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and an executive agency under the Public Service Act 1999. Its role and responsibilities are established under the Archives Act 1983 and are broadly grouped into the following areas:

  • leading Australian Government entities in creating and maintaining authentic, reliable and useable Commonwealth records by providing guidance and setting standards for the management of information and records
  • authorising retention and disposal of Commonwealth records, including identification of records of national archival value
  • transferring records of national archival value from entities and securing, describing and preserving them
  • making publicly available the archival resources of the Commonwealth in accordance with the Archives Act.

Organisational structure

As of 1 July 2017, the Archives implemented a structural change as a result of a functional review and staff consultation that took place during the 2016–17 year. This four-branch structure is as follows, with a brief summary of key roles and functions:

  • The Information and Technology branch is integral to the Archives' transformation to a state-of-the-art digital archive and supports the Archives in reaching its strategic goals through services, technology, infrastructure, software and governance of its information assets.
  • The Corporate Services branch provides the enabling services of governance, human resources, finance, procurement, property and security management.
  • The Access and Public Engagement branch is the public face of the Archives, delivering access to the collection online and through our reading rooms and reference service, education and public programs, exhibitions, publishing, marketing and media activities, and corporate events.
  • The Collection Management branch sets whole-of-government information management standards, determines those records that must be retained as essential evidence of government activity, and manages the archival collection to ensure the authenticity, integrity, preservation, useability and availability of the archival resources of the Commonwealth.

In April 2018 a decision was taken to establish a fifth branch, the Digital Archives Taskforce. The taskforce will commence operation from 1 July 2018 for a period of 18 months, and will consist of 15 positions. It will identify and implement new digital archiving processes, identify skill gaps and options for training, procure digital preservation solutions, and identify options and costings for the supply of archival management and access solutions.

National Archives of Australia, Organisational chart as at 30 June 2018

Figure 1: Organisational structure, 30 June 2018

Outcome and program structure

The 2017–18 Portfolio Budget Statements set out the Archives’ outcome and program structure, which is as follows:

To promote the creation, management and preservation of authentic, reliable and useable Commonwealth records and to facilitate Australians' access to the archival resources of the Commonwealth
National Archives of Australia

To achieve its outcome, the Archives will:

  • respond to changes in the information environment, including moving and guiding Commonwealth entities towards comprehensive digital information and records management, building capability, meeting whole-of-government requirements, and promoting accountability in information and records management
  • monitor and, as appropriate, expand its capability to transfer, preserve, digitise and make records available for public access. The Archives will continue to oversee the delivery of additional preservation and storage capacity, working with entities to improve business efficiency across government by enhancing the ability to retrieve and reuse information and reducing stockpiles of paper records
  • foster effective relationships with entities and strategic stakeholders, including the information and communication technology and cultural sectors. The Archives will work closely with other key information and security entities across government to ensure that digital records-management issues are addressed through information strategies, standards and policies
  • provide access to, promote, interpret and communicate the collection and foster engagement with Australians in cities and regional areas through its national network of reading rooms, reference services, and education, exhibitions, and community outreach programs. The Archives' websites and the national digitisation service will enhance the accessibility of the collection by increasing the number of record pages and interactive experiences available online.

Archives' purposes

  1. Maintaining the official record of the nation
  2. Creating valued connections between the national archival collection and government, researchers and the community.