Records Authority 2010/00814923

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities - Environment and Heritage Program Administration
Maintenance amendments

27 January 2010

This is an accurate reproduction of the authorised records authority content, created for accessibility purposes.


The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the Department) and the National Archives of Australia have developed this Records Authority to set out the requirements for keeping or destroying records for the core business area of Environment and Heritage Program Administration. It represents a significant commitment on behalf of the Department to understand, create and manage the records of its activities.

This Authority is based on the identification and analysis of the business of the Department. It takes into account the agency's legal and organisational records management requirements, and the interests of stakeholders, the agency and the National Archives of Australia.

The Authority sets out those records that need to be retained as national archives and specifies the minimum length of time that temporary records need to be kept. This Authority gives the Department permission under the Archives Act 1983, for the destruction of the temporary records described after the minimum retention period has expired. Retention periods for these temporary records are based on: an assessment of business needs; broader organisational accountability requirements; and community expectations, and are approved by the National Archives of Australia on the basis of information provided by the agency.

As changes in circumstances may affect future records management requirements, the periodic review of this Authority is recommended. All amendments must be approved by the National Archives.

Application of this authority

  1. This Authority replaces RA class 19236 in the previously issued Records Authority for Environment and Heritage Program Administration (2007/00380834). This class has been terminated and may no longer be used to sentence records after the date of issue of this Authority.
  2. This Authority is to be used to sentence records. Sentencing involves the examination of records in order to identify the individual disposal class to which they belong. This process enables sentencers to determine how long records need to be kept. Advice on sentencing is available from the National Archives.
  3. This Authority should be used in conjunction with general records authorities such as:
    • the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA) and/or AFDA Express issued by the National Archives to cover business processes and records common to Australian Government agencies;
    • encrypted records; and
    • source records that have been copied.
  4. The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act gives agencies permission to destroy certain records without formal authorisation. This usually occurs where records are duplicated, facilitative or for short-term use only. NAP does not replace arrangements agreed to in this Authority but can be used as a tool to assist in identifying records for destruction together with an agency's Record Authority or Authorities, and with AFDA and AFDA Express. The National Archives recommends that agencies develop and implement a Normal Administrative Practice policy. Advice and guidance on destroying records as a normal administrative practice and on how to develop an agency NAP policy is available from the National Archives' website at
  5. Where the method of recording information changes (for example from a manual system to an electronic system, or when information is migrated from one system to a new system) this authority can still be applied, providing the records document the same core business. The information must be accessible for the period of time prescribed in this Authority. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (the Department) will need to maintain continuing access to the information, including digital information, for the periods prescribed in this records authority or until the information is transferred into the custody of the National Archives.
  6. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Department may extend minimum retention periods if it considers that there is an administrative need to do so, without further reference to the National Archives. Where the Department believes that its accountability will be substantially compromised because a retention period or periods are not adequate, it should contact the National Archives for review of the retention period.
  7. From time to time the National Archives will place a freeze on some groups of records relating to a particular topic or event which has gained prominence or provokes controversy. While the freeze is in place no records relating to the topic or event may be destroyed. Further information about disposal freezes and whether they affect the application of this Authority is available from the National Archives website at
  8. Records which relate to any current or pending legal action, or are subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983 or any other relevant Act must not be destroyed until the action has been completed.
  9. Records in the care of agencies should be appropriately stored, managed and preserved. Agencies need to meet this obligation to ensure that the records remain authentic and accessible over time. Under Section 31 of the Archives Act 1983, access arrangements are required for records that become available for public access including those records that remain in agency custody.
  10. Appropriate arrangements should be made with the National Archives when records are to be transferred into custody. The National Archives accepts for transfer only those records designated as national archives.
  11. Advice on how to use this Authority is available from the Department records manager. If there are problems with the application of the Authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the National Archives.

Contact information

For assistance with this authority or for advice on other recordkeeping matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

PO Box 7425
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610



Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Robyn Kruk AM
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600


Authorises arrangements for the disposal of records in accordance with Section 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983.


Environment and Heritage Program administration.

This authorisation gives permission for the destruction, retention or transfer to the National Archives of Australia of the records described. The authority will apply only if these actions take place with the consent of the agency responsible for the core business documented in the records.

Signature of Margaret Chalker, Assistant Director-General, Government Information Management, National Archives of Australia, dated 27 January 2010

Margaret Chalker
Assistant Director-General
Government Information Management
National Archives of Australia


Environment and Heritage Program administration

The function of administering and managing domestic environment, heritage or natural management programs including in the areas of biodiversity conservation, chemicals management, climate change, coasts and oceans, natural and cultural heritage, environmental protection, natural resource management, water resources, and energy and water efficiency. Includes the coordination of national cooperative programs in collaboration with state and territory or local governments, industry and consumer representative bodies, property owners, Indigenous land owners and members of the community. Also includes coordinating the use of economic instruments such as tax incentives and financial assistance measures that may include supporting environment, heritage or natural resource management projects through investment or funding programs, the administration of grants and rebates or the development of structural adjustment packages, the development of educational resources, public awareness campaigns, information products and the provision of policy advice to Ministers.

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records documenting routine receipt and processing of funding applications under structural adjustment packages.

[For records documenting precedent cases, or cases involving significant public or historical interest, use ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION – Structural Adjustment Packages (class 19235)

For records documenting the development of structural adjustment packages, including stakeholder consultations, monitoring reports and master sets of policies and guidelines for the administration of structural adjustment packages, use ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION – Structural Adjustment Packages (class 19235)

For records documenting appeals, use ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION – Appeals (decisions)]

Destroy 7 years after action completed.
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