Records Authority 2017/00190398

Department of Health

Health Promotion and Safety


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


The Department of Health 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 Health Promotion and Safety. It represents a significant commitment on behalf of the Department of Health 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 of Health. It takes into account the agency's legal and organisational information 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 Department of Health 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 on the basis of information provided by the agency.

As changes in circumstances may affect future information 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 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 Departmental 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 National 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 National 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 National 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 a NAP policy is available from the National 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 National 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 Department of Health 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.
  7. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Department of Health 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 Health 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.
  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 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.
  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. 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 Department of Health information 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.


Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Mr Martin Bowles PSM
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
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 Health Promotion and Safety.

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:

Christine Johnston
Acting Assistant Director-General
National Archives of Australia

22 June 2017

Groups and Classes

Health Promotion and Safety

For policies, strategies, programs and services designed to improve access to medical and health care services including both primary (GPs, clinics) and acute care (hospitals), use MEDICAL & HEALTH CARE ACCESS.

For policies, strategies, programs and services designed to protect the Australian community against communicable disease threats through a range of surveillance systems and control measures, use HEALTH PROTECTION & HEALTH EMERGENCIES.

Cross references to AFDA Express

  • For the preparation of budget estimates, budget proposals, cost modelling, and financial transactions, use - FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
  • For the procurement of goods and services, such as contractors or consultants, use – PROCUREMENT.
  • For the publication and distribution of agency publications, including standards, use – PUBLICATION.
  • For advice to the Minister, ministerial submissions, and the development of legislation, use – GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.
  • For staff attendance at conferences on health promotion and safety, use – STAFF DEVELOPMENT.

Cross references to other General Records Authorities

  • For the management of grants, use GRANT MANAGEMENT.
  • For developing and executing contracts under seal or deeds, use CONTRACTS UNDER SEAL/DEEDS.
Class no Description of records Disposal action

Significant records documenting:

  • development, implementation and evaluation of national and high level policies, strategies and plans supporting health promotion and safety. Includes final and major drafts, policy proposals, stakeholder consultation, research papers, briefs and other correspondence;
  • developing and implementing national and high-level programs and projects, including joint venture programs (eg Health Star Rating System). Includes proposal, business case, implementation plan, risk assessment, reports, stakeholder consultation and project outcomes;
  • developing major marketing, educational and information awareness campaigns that support health promotion and safety (eg National Tobacco Campaign). Includes conducting market research and developing advertising materials;
  • advice received or given to internal or external stakeholders relating to significant health promotion and safety standards.  Includes policy advice, advice on how to apply or interpret policy (including legal advice), correspondence, research material, cables, minutes and briefs;
  • external and high level internal committees relating to health promotion and safety, where the agency either provides secretariat support, is the Australian Government's main representative, and/or plays a prominent or central role. Includes establishment records, agenda, final versions of minutes, outcomes and action lists, out-of-session correspondence, documents relating to special accounts and administered budgets, reports and supporting documentation, such as briefing notes and discussion papers, correspondence, and recommendations for inclusion on the list;
  • final versions of significant agreements and contracts and supporting documents, that: relate to substantial funding agreements or the establishment of major partnerships or cooperative arrangements with other governments, agencies and organisations; are controversial, of public interest or ground-breaking in nature; relate to major health promotion and safety issues; or result in major changes to agency policies or programs. Includes Memorandums of Understanding and joint venture agreements;
  • summary records supporting the core business, including registers/indexes/datasets and associated information;
  • national and sector-wide reviews of health promotion and safety programs, campaigns and strategies. Includes reviews that result in major changes to agency policies or practices;
  • findings and outcomes of major research supporting the health promotion and safety core business, including demographic research and modelling, and longitudinal studies. Includes final research reports, statistical data, planning, correspondence and supporting documentation, and related datasets where created by the Department of Health;
  • reviews of decisions made under relevant State, Territory or Federal legislation.  Includes correspondence, records of appeals and exemptions (including decisions), legal advice and reports for legal counsel, briefs, and notes for file;
  • final versions of reports which may result in substantial changes to agency policy and programs, relate to health promotion and safety issues that are controversial or of public interest, or substantially impact upon health promotion and safety programs and campaigns;
  • final versions of unpublished proceedings, reports, presentations, and papers from national and international conferences, forums, seminars and workshops hosted by the agency;
  • master versions of agency publications produced to support health promotion and safety. Includes information bulletins and fact sheets; and
  • final versions of speeches presented by the portfolio Minister or senior agency staff in support of the health promotion and safety core business.
Retain as national archives
62326 Records documenting processing of applications for exemptions to the advertising of tobacco and tobacco products. Destroy 15 years after last action

Records documenting planning and conduct of internal and external audits relating to the core business. Includes records of liaison and consultation with stakeholders and auditing bodies, meeting notes, comments and reports, research materials, and working papers.

[For legal advice relating to international law or interpreting the agency’s own legislation, use – LEGAL SERVICES.]

Destroy 10 years after last action.

Records documenting:

  • routine operational administrative tasks supporting the core business; and
  • health promotion and safety activities, other than those covered in classes 62325 to 62327.
Destroy 7 years after last action.
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018