Records Authority 2015/00616710

Department of the Environment

Alligator Rivers Region Mining Supervision & Research; Commonwealth Reserve Management

2016

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

Introduction

The Department of the Environment 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 areas of Alligator Rivers Region Mining Supervision and Research, and Commonwealth Reserve Management. It represents a significant commitment on behalf of the Department of the Environment to understand, create and manage the records of its activities.

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

The records 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 records authority gives the Department of the Environment 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 records authority supersedes records authorities RDA 1334 (1997) and RDA 1346 (1998) which cannot be used after the issue of this authority.
  2. This records authority is to be used to determine how long records must be kept. Records are matched to the relevant core business and records class in the authority.
    • Where the minimum retention period has expired and the records are not needed for agency business they should be destroyed as authorised in this authority.
    • Records that have not reached the minimum retention period must be kept until they do.
    • Records that are identified as 'retain as national archives' are to be transferred to the National Archives of Australia for preservation.
  3. This authority should be used in conjunction with general records authorities such as:
    • AFDA Express which covers administrative business processes and records common to many Australian Government agencies;
    • General Records Authority 31 – Destruction of source or original records after digitisation, conversion or migration (2015).
    • General Records Authority 26 – Advisory Bodies.
  4. The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act 1983 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 Records 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 www.naa.gov.au.
  5. Records that are reasonably likely to be needed as evidence in a current or future judicial proceeding or are subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or any other relevant Act must not be destroyed until the action has been completed.
  6. Records subject to a disposal freeze must not be destroyed until the freeze has been lifted. Further information about disposal freezes and whether they affect the application of this Authority is available from the National Archives website at www.naa.gov.au.
  7. 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 agency 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.
  8. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Department of the Environment 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 of the Environment 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.
  9. Records coming within 'retain as national archives' classes in this authority have been determined to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under Section 3C of the Archives Act 1983. The determination of Commonwealth records as archival resources of the Commonwealth obliges agencies to transfer the records to the National Archives when they cease to be current and, in any event, within 15 years of the records coming into existence, under Section 27 of the Archives Act 1983.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. Records created digitally after 1 January can be transferred in digital formats only.
  12. Advice on how to use this authority is available from the agency’s 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 records management matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

PO Box 7425
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610

Email: recordkeeping@naa.gov.au
Website: www.naa.gov.au

Authorisation

Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM
Secretary
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Purpose:

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

Determines records classed as 'Retain as national archives' in this Records Authority to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under Section 3C of the Archives Act 1983.

Application:

All core business records relating to Alligator Rivers Region Mining Supervision & Research and Commonwealth Reserve Management.

This authority gives permission for the destruction, retention or transfer to the National Archives of Australia of the records described. This authority will apply only with the consent of the agency currently responsible for the business documented in the records described.

Authorised by:

Anne Lyons
Assistant Director-General
National Archives of Australia

1 April 2016

Classes

Alligator Rivers Region Mining Supervision and Research

The core business of supervising uranium mining activities in the Alligator Rivers region of the Northern Territory to ensure that the environment is protected from potential impacts. Also includes developing and implementing programs in relation to general mining and exploration in a conservation zone, and conducting research on tropical river systems and the ecology and conservation of tropical wetlands.

The core activities include:

  • planning, developing, approving, implementing and reviewing environmental programs;
  • undertaking environmental research projects, monitoring, audits, inspections, reviews and assessments;
  • receiving, investigating and responding to incident notifications and reports;
  • issuing notices or requests for orders to access information;
  • creating, gathering and assessing data, including environmental, scientific and spatial data;
  • authorising water releases by mining companies;
  • developing, implementing and reviewing protocols, standards, tools, practices, procedures and measures for environmental protection and research;
  • liaising and consulting with stakeholders, including indigenous associations representing traditional owners, mining companies, non-government organisations and regulatory agencies;
  • marketing and awareness raising and understanding of activities, including through exhibitions, educational and information sessions and material, open days, visits and tours;
  • providing and receiving advice;
  • providing consultancy and training services on a commercial basis;
  • establishing, managing and participating in committees, working groups and taskforces;
  • preparing, updating maps and diagrams;
  • negotiating, establishing and reviewing agreements, including those for collaborative research projects and bilateral working arrangements;
  • supervising research projects undertaken by students;
  • obtaining, maintaining and complying with licences and permits that support research; and
  • designing, developing, accrediting, installing, operating, maintaining and inspecting specialised plant, equipment, systems, scientific facilities and vehicles.

The performance of the core business is supported by general activities such as:

  • delegating authority;
  • developing and reviewing plans, policies and procedures;
  • reporting and reviewing;
  • making routine arrangements for committees, working groups, task forces and other meetings;
  • project administration;
  • receiving awards and honours in recognition of agency performance;
  • preparing and presenting speeches;
  • arranging and attending conferences and symposia; and
  • handling enquiries.

Cross references to AFDA Express Records Authority

For government inquiries, ministerials, ministerial directives, responding to questions on notice, senate reporting, and visits made by heads of state, representatives of other government agencies, and interstate and overseas governments, use GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

For media releases, use COMMUNITY RELATIONS and/or GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

For the specification and procurement of routine plant, equipment, facilities and vehicles, use EQUIPMENT & STORES and FLEET MANAGEMENT.

For freedom of information requests, use INFORMATION MANAGEMENT.

For safety management relating to visitors and staff, including monitoring and reporting incidents of exposure to hazardous materials, use OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY (OH&S).

For the provision of employment, apprenticeships and traineeships, use PERSONNEL.

For the issue, receipt and assessment of tenders and management of the performance of external service providers, such as commissioned researchers and consultants, use PROCUREMENT.

For the agency's business planning and performance management processes, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

For developing and executing formal contracts under seal or deeds, use CONTRACTS UNDER SEAL/DEEDS.

Cross references to other records authorities

For statutory and non-statutory advisory bodies, including the Alligator Rivers Region Advisory Committee, use ADVISORY BODIES.

For the administration of grants such as those provided to undergraduate students, use GRANT MANAGEMENT.

Class no Description of records Disposal action
61990

The following significant records documenting:

  • development, approval and review of high-level programs which have substantial social, historical, environmental or cultural significance for the region, industry or community. Includes proposals and business cases, approvals, results of stakeholder consultations, strategies, plans and frameworks, schemes and initiatives, and the determination of funding;
  • final reports relating to audits, inspections, reviews, assessments, research and monitoring. Includes major drafts distributed for stakeholder comment, public submissions and results of consultations;
  • notification and investigation of serious environmental incidents requiring immediate or major investigation by the agency or which attract media attention, and any radiological incident. Includes response, initial and final report, data gathered, evidence prepared and recommendations;
  • agency notices and requests for access to information in relation to significant matters which are subject to government or media scrutiny, or which have far reaching implications for the environment, community or mining industry;
  • data created, gathered and required to support ongoing supervision, research and monitoring activities. Includes photographs, sampling data, remote sensing data, modelling data, vector and raster image datasets, water quality data, gamma spectrometry data, spectral data, and flora and fauna monitoring data;
  • development and review of environmental, research and investigative protocols, standards, tools, practices, measures, procedures, methodologies and guidelines. Includes final versions, major drafts, submissions, and supporting research;
  • authorisation of treated water releases by mining companies. Includes requests, approvals and rejections;
  • high-level liaison and consultation with regional communities, government and the private sector such as that concerning significant changes to monitoring and supervision programs and protocols;
  • final versions of materials produced for major marketing and communication campaigns, open days, visits and tours that promote awareness and understanding of protocols, programs, projects and initiatives, including educational content and publications. Includes commercial training course materials which are unique or of international significance;
  • major or controversial exhibitions. Includes final version of plans, designs, layouts and concepts, display models, photographs of the exhibition or display and associated evaluation and review reports;
  • high-level advice that sets precedents, is contentious or controversial, or of significant interest to government, Parliament and the public, such as advice related to serious environmental incidents, long-term impacts of mining or rights of indigenous communities, and significant technical advice impacting on the mining industry, including opinion and comment in relation to mining approvals and associated applications. Includes final version of formal advice, position papers, briefs, reports and stakeholder submissions;
  • high-level internal or external committees, taskforces and similar working groups where the agency provides the chair, secretariat, or is the Commonwealth’s main representative. Includes international committees. Includes establishment documentation, agenda, major drafts, stakeholder consultation, final versions of minutes and supporting research and briefs;
  • master version of maps and diagrams prepared to support monitoring and research activities;
  • final versions of high-level agreements and supporting documents to which the agency is signatory, such as intergovernmental agreements, inter-agency memoranda of understanding, agreements with industry and communities, and agreements which establish significant co-operative arrangements;
  • final design and modification of special purpose built scientific plant, equipment, systems, facilities and vehicles that are highly specialised or ground breaking in design, or represent a major advance or significant improvement in functionality;
  • summary records such as registers and catalogues (eg specimen register, image catalogue, laboratory activity log, project approvals register) associated with environmental monitoring and research. Includes data sets and associated information about data fields (eg data dictionaries);
  • master versions of proceedings and unpublished papers for national and international conferences and symposia organised or hosted by the agency;
  • final versions of speeches presented by the portfolio Minister or senior agency staff at major public or industry events, conferences, workshops, seminars or other forums;
  • major awards and honours received by the agency such as those of regional, national and international significance. Includes final nominations, notifications and certificates; and
  • master versions of agency publications.
Retain as national archives
61991

Records documenting:

  • delegations of authority issued by the agency;
  • applying for, renewing and complying with licences and permits for the use of radioactive material. Includes audit and inspection reports from the regulatory body and the agency’s radiation control plans and associated procedures;
  • notification and investigation of environmental incidents that do not require immediate investigation. Excludes radiological incidents;
  • accreditation, inspections, installation, maintenance and calibrations undertaken in relation to laboratory facilities and specialised scientific equipment, plant and systems; and
  • agency notices and requests for access to information in relation to matters that are not considered significant.
Destroy 25 years after action completed
61992

Records documenting:

  • general enquiries regarding the agency’s activities such as those concerning its commercial services or publications; and
  • unsuccessful or discontinued quotes and offers for commercial services.
Destroy 2 years after action completed
61993

Records documenting:

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • Alligator Rivers region mining supervision and research activities, other than those covered in classes 61990 to 61992.
Destroy 7 years after action completed

Commonwealth Reserve Management

The core business of managing and controlling Commonwealth reserves and conservation zones including national parks, the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine reserves.

The core activities include:

  • providing and receiving advice;
  • developing, approving, implementing and reviewing plans, strategies, programs, policies and procedures;
  • undertaking research, monitoring, assessments and surveys and disseminating results;
  • implementing global agreements and international conventions;
  • identifying and conserving cultural heritage sites, material and values;
  • establishing, managing and participating in committees, meetings, working groups and taskforces;
  • arranging and managing conferences and symposia;
  • assessing the performance and effectiveness of reserve management;
  • managing incidents;
  • managing projects to protect ecosystems;
  • negotiating, establishing and reviewing agreements, including those for collaborative projects, tourism partnerships, lease arrangements, service delivery and joint management;
  • liaising and consulting with stakeholders;
  • creating, gathering and assessing environmental, cultural and botanical data and managing associated databases;
  • designing, constructing and maintaining specialised systems, infrastructure and facilities;
  • managing licences, permits, approvals and similar authorisations both issued and received by the agency;
  • undertaking compliance and enforcement, reviewing decisions and managing appeals;
  • appointing statutory enforcement roles such as wardens, rangers and inspectors;
  • marketing and raising awareness; and
  • providing events and educational services, including exhibitions, tours, and visitor and interpretative services.

The performance of the core business is supported by general activities such as:

  • delegating authority;
  • planning, conducting and participating in audits and assessments of agency activities;
  • receiving awards and honours in recognition of agency performance;
  • preparing and presenting speeches;
  • developing and reviewing internal policies and procedures;
  • reporting and reviewing;
  • managing venue bookings and ticket sales;
  • seeking financial support such as sponsorship, bequests and donations;
  • making routine arrangements for committees, working groups meetings, commemorations and visits; and
  • handling enquiries and visitor complaints and suggestions.

Cross references to AFDA Express Records Authority

For the specification and procurement of routine plant, equipment, facilities and vehicles, use EQUIPMENT & STORES and FLEET MANAGEMENT.

For freedom of information requests, use INFORMATION MANAGEMENT.

For administration of the Australian National Parks Fund, use FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.

For government inquiries, ministerials, ministerial directives, responding to questions on notice, senate reporting, and visits made by heads of state, representatives of other government agencies, and interstate and overseas governments, use GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

For the provision of legal advice, use LEGAL SERVICES.

For workplace health and safety incidents relating to visitors and staff, use OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY (OH&S).

For arrangements and agreements with other government agencies in relation to the roles of wardens, rangers, and inspectors, and other enforcement and security services, use GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

For the issue, receipt and assessment of tenders and management of contracts and the performance of external service providers, such as commissioned researchers and consultants, café operators, or building contractors and consultants, use PROCUREMENT.

For the construction and maintenance of non-specialist buildings and facilities, and property security, use PROPERTY MANAGEMENT.

For training of Commonwealth reserve staff, volunteers and work experience students, use STAFF DEVELOPMENT.

For developing and executing formal contracts under seal or deeds, use CONTRACTS UNDER SEAL/DEEDS.

Cross references to other records authorities

For advisory bodies such as the Kakadu Research Advisory Committee, use ADVISORY BODIES.

For boards of management established to jointly manage protected areas such as the Booderee National Park, Kakadu National Park, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Boards of Management, use GOVERNING BODIES.

For the acquisition, conservation, control, and maintenance of living plants, herbarium specimens and seed collections, use SMALL COLLECTION MANAGEMENT.

For the administration of grants such as research, capacity-building and student travel grants, use GRANT MANAGEMENT.

For declarations and proclamations of protected areas, use RA 2007/0038083 - ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE REGULATION.

For developing genetic/biological resource policy and regulating access to such resources which are the statutory responsibility of the Department, use RA 2007/0038083 - ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE REGULATION.

Class no Description of records Disposal action
62000

The following significant records documenting:

  • high-level advice that sets precedents, is contentious or controversial, or concerns issues of significant interest to government, Parliament and the public, such as advice related to serious environmental incidents, rights of indigenous communities, and significant technical advice impacting on the protection of flora, fauna, artefacts and land areas. Includes final version, major drafts, stakeholder consultation and supporting research;
  • development, approval and review of high-level policies, procedures and programs administered by the agency, which have substantial social, historical, and environmental or cultural significance for the area, industry, and community, such as indigenous joint management programs and curatorial and preservation policies for cultural and heritage assets. Includes final versions, initial proposals and business cases, approvals, results of stakeholder consultations, and the determination and allocation of funding;
  • research, monitoring, assessments and surveys undertaken or commissioned by the agency. Includes proposals, approvals, major drafts distributed for stakeholder comment, public submissions, results of consultations and final reports. Excludes routine visitor surveys;
  • final high-level reports concerning the performance and effectiveness of the management of reserves. Includes assurance audits, correspondence and audits relating to the implementation of global agreements and conventions such as the Nagoya Protocol and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) working group;
  • identification and conservation of cultural heritage sites and material. Includes inspection and treatment reports, maps, photos and oral histories;
  • high-level internal or external committees, meetings, taskforces and similar working groups where the agency provides the chair, secretariat, or is the Commonwealth’s main representative. Includes participation in national and international groups such as Council of Australian Biological Collections (CABC), Australian Alps Liaison Committee, World Parks Conference organising committee, Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) working group, and Global Biodiversity Information Facility working groups and committees. Includes establishment documentation, agenda, major drafts, stakeholder consultation, final versions of minutes and supporting research and briefs;
  • master versions of proceedings and unpublished papers for national and international conferences and symposia organised or hosted by the agency;
  • high-level plans and strategies concerning the overall management of reserves, sites, tourism or species, including park management plans, master plans, threatened species plans and cultural heritage plans. Includes major drafts distributed for stakeholder comment, public submissions, results of consultations and final versions;
  • management of natural disaster, environmental or visitor incidents that have (or could have) a major impact on the environment, cultural heritage, or public. Includes final reports, recommendations and formal responses;
  • managing major projects to protect ecosystems such as those where the outcome is considered innovative, controversial or arouse significant public, national, international or commercial interest, including those that may potentially have a major impact upon the environment or cultural heritage of the area. Includes project plans, project budgets, issues logs and progress reports;
  • final versions of high-level agreements and supporting documents to which the agency is signatory, such as intergovernmental agreements, inter-agency memoranda of understanding, agreements with industry and communities, and agreements which establish significant co-operative or partnership arrangements;
  • liaison with individuals, local communities, government and the private sector concerning issues considered controversial or arouse significant public, national, international or commercial interest. Includes liaison with traditional land owners concerning significant cultural heritage and land ownership issues;
  • catalogues, registers, datasets and databases of natural or cultural heritage data. Includes monitoring data, spatial data, species lists, historical site and monument registers, indigenous art and artefact data and images, plant indexes and listings of world, national and Commonwealth heritage;
  • final design of specialised systems, infrastructure and facilities that have won awards, are considered innovative, controversial or arouse significant public national, international or commercial interest, or are unique to a particular area;
  • managing applications for licences, permits, approvals and other authorisations for certain activities undertaken within a protected area that set precedents, are contentious or controversial, or of significant interest to government, Parliament, the public, indigenous communities or industry. Includes approvals, rejections, revocation, exemptions and variations. Also includes radiation facility licences held by the agency.
  • compliance and enforcement activities that become precedent-setting, or where cases are considered controversial or arouse significant public, national, international or commercial interest. Includes notification of incidents and breaches, investigations, audits, and reviews of decisions;
  • major events and educational services including exhibitions, tours, and visitor, interpretative and similar services that are considered innovative, controversial or arouse significant public, national, international or commercial interest. Includes final version of designs, layouts and concepts, display models, presentations, photographs, maps, publications and associated evaluation and review reports;
  • major awards and honours received by the agency such as those of regional, national and international significance. Includes final nominations, notifications and certificates;
  • final versions of speeches made by the Minister or senior staff at major public or industry events, conferences, workshops, seminars or other forums; and
  • major or innovative marketing plans and campaigns such as final and major drafts of detailed park brand strategies involving extensive consultation, marketing material and final website designs for international audiences.
Retain as national archives
62002

Records documenting:

  • development, approval, implementation and review of reserve management programs, policies, plans and procedures that are not considered high-level but concern environmental conservation matters such as feral and hazardous animal culling programs, incident response plans and fire hazard control procedures. Includes final versions, schedules and reports; and
  • high-level delegations of authority issued or received by the agency.
Destroy 25 years after action completed
62003

Records documenting:

  • arrangements for routine visits, field trips, conferences and symposia attendance, meetings, etc. Excludes arrangements for international visits and commercial bookings of protected area venues; and
  • general enquiries regarding the agency’s activities such as those concerning licences and permits.
Destroy 2 years after action completed
62004

Records documenting: 

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • Commonwealth reserve management activities, other than those covered in classes 62000, 62002 and 62003.
Destroy 7 years after action completed
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017