Records Authority 2016/00476161

Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General

Governor-General Support, Heritage Property Management, Honours and Awards Administration


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


The Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General 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 Governor-General Support, Heritage Property Management and Honours and Awards Administration. It represents a significant commitment on behalf of the Office of the Official Secretary to understand, create and manage the records of its activities.

This authority is based on the identification and analysis of the business of the Office. 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 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 Office 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 Archives 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 Archives.

Application of this Authority

  1. This authority is to be used to determine how long records must be kept. Official records held by the Governor-General that are not passed to the Office of the Official Secretary are not covered by this authority. 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; and
    • Records that are identified as ‘retain as national archives' are to be transferred to the Archives for preservation.
  2. 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 Archives to cover business processes and records common to Australian Government agencies; and
    • General Records Authority (31) - Destruction of source or original records after digitisation, conversion or migration (2015).
  3. 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 Archives recommends that agencies develop and implement a NAP 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 Archives' website at
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Archives website at
  6. 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 office 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 Archives.
  7. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Office may extend minimum retention periods if it considers that there is an administrative need to do so, without further reference to the Archives. Where the Office believes that its accountability will be substantially compromised because a retention period or periods are not adequate, it should contact the Archives for review of the retention period.
  8. 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 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.
  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 Archives when records are to be transferred into custody. The Archives accepts for transfer only those records designated as national archives. Records created digitally after 1 January 2016 can be transferred in digital formats only.
  11. Advice on how to use this authority is available from the Office records manager. If there are problems with the application of the authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the 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



Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Mark Fraser LVO, OAM
Official Secretary to the Governor-General
Governmanet House
Canberra ACT 2601


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.


All core business records relating to Governor-General Support, Heritage Property Management, Honours and Awards Administration.

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

25 August 2016

Governor General Support

The core business of managing the program of engagements of the Governor-General, including support provided in discharging the official duties and functions of the Governor-General as well as his or her constitutional, statutory, community and ceremonial roles.

  • events hosted by the Governor-General or hosted by external organisations and attended by the Governor-General including representing Australia overseas;
  • giving support in name as patron to selected organisations, including the joint or separate activities of a Governor-General's spouse.

The core activities include:

  • planning, implementing and managing the Governor-General's program;
  • supporting the Governor-General in performance of his or her constitutional and statutory responsibilities, roles, functions and activities;
  • planning and managing the program of events at Government House and Admiralty House;
  • planning and co-ordinating the program of external functions;
  • media support and communications;
  • managing patronage arrangements;
  • managing and maintaining the official household; and
  • provision of congratulatory messages.

Cross references to other Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General core businesses

  • For the estate management of official residences that are properties of national significance, including the receipt and provision of advice, use HERITAGE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Cross references to AFDA Express

  • For the management of public visits to official residences not associated with the official duties of the Governor-General, use COMMUNITY RELATIONS
  • For the administration of external committees or where the Office provides the secretariat, or is the Commonwealth’s main representative or plays a significant role, use GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
  • For the administration of internal committees, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records documenting

  • official daily program(s) of the Governor-General and spouse;
  • research, briefs, advice, speaking notes, speeches;
  • media liaison and management including:
    • media releases and announcements;
    • photographs;
    • videos and other broadcasts; and
    • social media engagement;
  • official photographs and visual recordings;
  • register of gifts received and given;
  • requests, confirmation and maintenance of patrons or patronages;
  • State visits made by the Governor-General;
  • hosting visits by the Royal Family, foreign Heads of State or Heads of Government, including heads of international organisations such as the Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • official constitutional and statutory functions of the Governor-General retained by the Office and not otherwise returned to the originating agency;
  • other official roles of the Governor-General including:
    • appointments, including Ministers and military staff attached to the Governor-General’s Office;
    • granting Royal Charters;
    • approval for the use of the style 'Royal'; and
    • conferring of titles;
  • policy deliberations, including discussions with external organisations or representatives;
  • interactions with foreign governments; and
  • submissions, reports, reviews and evaluations.
Retain as national archives

Records documenting:

  • strategic planning of the programs;
  • receipt and confirmation of invitations;
  • event planning;
  • liaison with event organisers and other organisations;
  • travel arrangements;
  • protocol management; and
  • security arrangements.
Destroy 10 years after action completed.

Records documenting:

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • Governor-General Support activities other than those covered in classes 62173 to 62174.
Destroy 7 years after action completed.

Heritage Property Management

The core business of managing the two properties associated with the operation of the Governor-General and the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General – Government House, Yarralumla and Admiralty House, Kirribilli – including heritage and other unique aspects. Includes management of the grounds and related aspects of the properties.

Heritage Property Management includes projects and programs to design and construct architectural and engineering works of any kind including refurbishments and extensions, and conservation of such works. 

Core activities include:

  • giving and receiving advice;
  • management of agreements;
  • conduct of audits and reviews;
  • managing committees;
  • compliance with, and implementation of, standards;
  • conservation and maintenance activities undertaken to preserve, protect, maintain, restore and enhance the properties;
  • construction, design and planning of building works;
  • management of contracts;
  • inspection of properties for hazardous substances and risk management plans;
  • liaison and meetings with stakeholders;
  • policy and procedures relating to Heritage Property Management;
  • refurbishment of buildings;
  • reporting to internal and external committees and stakeholders;
  • reviewing programs; and
  • heritage property security.

Cross references to other Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General core businesses

For the day-to-day operational support management of the running of the Governor-General’s residences, use GOVERNOR-GENERAL SUPPORT

Cross references to AFDA Express

For records relating to exposure to hazardous material use PERSONNEL or OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY (OH&S).

For records relating to the acquisition of goods and services use PROCUREMENT.

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records documenting:

  • structural works to the properties including construction, contract management, design, planning and consultation. Includes drawings and final versions of program and project plans for works;
  • major repairs and restoration work carried out at the properties;
  • primary conservation records used to preserve, protect, maintain, restore and enhance the buildings and gardens. Includes conservation and treatment reports; condition reports and primary photographs and drawings;
  • internal and external committees relating to property management for major repairs or maintenance which represent and give evidence of these committee’s establishment and decisions, including final minutes of meetings,
  • recommendations, reports and agenda papers;
  • final versions of addresses presented by Office staff or contractors that contribute significantly to the knowledge and understanding of the properties;
  • significant advice such as to the Minister or the Parliament;
  • final signed agreements;
  • compliance with internal or external heritage management standards;
  • inspection of building and grounds, including those documenting the existence of hazardous substances;
  • master set of policies relating to the core business of property management; and
  • final versions of formal internal reports or reports to external agencies.
Retain as national archives.

Records relating to the removal and disposal of hazardous materials.

Destroy 75 years after removal of materials.

Records documenting:

  • minor repairs and maintenance carried out at the properties. Minor maintenance includes repairs and maintenance that do not change the appearance or structure or which affect a minor part of the building or gardens.
  • all committee records that relate to minor repairs or maintenance, and all other committee records that are not included in class 62176 such as meeting arrangements and draft minutes;
  • plant and equipment maintenance, including manuals and guides;
  • relevant physical security matters relating to the properties including arrangements, assessments, procedures, breaches and incidents;
  • routine advice given and received;
  • management of contracts and agreements;
  • relevant audit reports;
  • the evaluation, review, periodic reporting and monitoring of programs, processes, systems or services;
  • insurance policies and related documents;
  • development and establishment of policies;
  • master set of Office manuals, handbooks, directives, etc detailing procedures;
  • implementation of standards, such as the Building Code of Australia;
  • program planning for building management work, including maintenance programs
  • risk management;
  • stakeholder liaison; and
  • secondary conservation records including maintenance schedules.
Destroy 10 years after last action.

Records documenting:

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • Heritage Property Management activities other than those covered in classes 62176 to 62178. Includes:
  • building management or energy management systems and databases; and
  • the development of procedures for building management activities.
Destroy 7 years after action completed.

Honours and Awards Administration

The core business of administering the honours and awards system applicable to Australia including all civilian honours, and awards for members of the Australian Defence Force, in support of the Governor-General.

Includes the administration of relevant advisory bodies such as the Council for the Order of Australia, the Australian Bravery Decorations Council and the National Emergency Medal Committee.

Core activities include:

  • receiving, researching and preparing nominations for honours and awards councils and committees;
  • ensuring recommendations comply with honours and awards requirements;
  • briefing the Governor-General;
  • procuring Australian Honours medals, insignia, warrants and investiture items;
  • managing the process for issuing meritorious, Defence and long service awards;
  • supporting the Governor-General as Chancellor of the Order of Australia;
  • providing administrative and secretariat support to honours and awards advisory bodies; and
  • managing the investiture process.

Cross references to other Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General core businesses

For media releases, photographic and visual recordings, and event management use GOVERNOR-GENERAL SUPPORT.

Cross references to General Records Authorities

For the management of governing bodies associated with the honours and awards system, use GOVERNING BODIES

For the management of advisory bodies associated with the honours and awards system, use ADVISORY BODIES

Cross references to AFDA Express

For the acquisition of goods and services, use PROCUREMENT.

For external reviews and evaluations, use STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT or GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records documenting:

  • honours and awards summary information and citations;
  • recommendations for service awards;
  • Governor-General's notes, approvals and cancellations of honours and awards;
  • gazettal notices, and background notes for media and public announcements;
  • investiture ceremonies, including:
    • invitation lists
    • programs
  • Official Secretary's notes;
  • speeches made by the Governor-General or the Official Secretary;
  • briefings for the Governor-General or the Official Secretary;
  • statistics of honours and awards made;
  • reports;
  • register of honours and awards;
  • honours and awards policies, criteria and conditions including regulation development, consultations and authorisation, and determinations;
  • original artwork and related documentation;
  • medal image reproductions, replicas and related documentation;
  • major reviews and policy deliberations on honours and awards administration; and
  • advice received and provided.
Retain as national archives.

All nominations and recommendations for honours and awards, including associated correspondence and research.

Destroy at the discretion of the Official Secretary.

Records documenting:

  • review and evaluation of internal procedures and policies;
  • letters sounding out nominees for their intention to accept a nominated award;
  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • Honours and Awards Administration activities other than those covered in class 62171 and 62180.
Destroy 7 years after action completed.
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018