Archives 2020 Strategic Plan

The Archives 2020 Strategic Plan sets the direction for our organisation for the next two years. It will help ensure we all know where we are going, what we are doing, and why as we work together to achieve our vision to be a world leading archive in this digital age.

The Strategic Plan:

  • anchors and connects our efforts to implement a transformative work program into 2020
  • provides all staff with a ready guide to our vision, mission, values, goals and strategic priorities
  • promotes the Archives and its forward plan to the public and stakeholders

The Strategic Plan draws on our corporate and branch planning, the PBS and the Archives Way to identify and link together the highest priority projects and activities under four goals. It was developed with the Executive Board and approved on 19 June 2018.

Our Vision

To be a world leading archive in this digital age

The National Archives of Australia is the memory of our nation. The records of the Commonwealth collected since Federation tell the story of Australia and its people. Our collection is the essential evidence of Australian Government activities and decisions that shaped our nation and the lives of its citizens.

The Archives secures, preserves and makes accessible this priceless information for the benefit of current and future generations. For more than 70 years the Archives has ably fulfilled this vital stewardship role. Now, as digital technologies drive global change and innovation, we must transform how we do business to continue to meet the needs and expectations of our clients.

Our vision is to be a world leading archive in this digital age. An ambitious program of work is underway to help us achieve this vision in just two years. This strategy outlines how it will be done.

By 2020, the Archives will have a new digital archive and the capability to handle the huge volumes of data to be transferred from Australian Government agencies. A new website will provide all Australians with a multi-function digital platform to access Archives services, events and exhibitions. A redeveloped national office at East Block in Canberra will pave the way for a dedicated, purpose-built Archives headquarters building in the Parliamentary zone. The Archives brand will be recognised nationally and internationally and new organisational strategies and commercial partnerships will drive rapid description and digitisation of the analogue collection.

The Archives is charting this transformational course because it must. Business as usual is not an option in a rapidly changing digital world. We look forward to working with our clients, partners and government to make our 2020 vision a reality.

Our Mission

To connect Australians with their identity and history through our stewardship of Australian Government records.

Our Values

Service excellence

We deliver quality and responsive services that meet the needs and expectations of our clients and partners.


We strive to be national and international leaders in information management policy, digital transformation, archival collection management and creative public engagement.


We look for new and better ways to do business and deliver digital services that are user-centred and embrace the future.


We take responsibility for delivering the goals and priorities comprising our transformational program of work to 2020.


We work with the public, private and civil society sectors to achieve shared goals and outcomes.

Goal 1: Enable

Enable best practice information management by Australian Government agencies


Australian Government agencies demonstrate best practice, support the development of specialist information management professionals, and achieve Digital Continuity 2020 policy targets.

What's important?

  • Lead Australian Government information management policy
  • Provide Australian Government agencies with the policies, standards, tools and advice required to achieve best practice information management
  • Assess and report on agency progress toward Digital Continuity 2020 policy targets

What we will do

  • Roll out new tools and deliver advice and support to government agencies
    • Information management and data capabilities tool
    • Information Management Standard
    • Agency Service Centre
    • Government Agency Information Network (GAIN)
    • Check-up Plus
  • Survey government agencies to assess and report on progress toward Digital Continuity 2020 targets
  • Design and recommend a new policy framework to replace and build on Digital Continuity 2020

What will success look like?

  • Increase in the take-up and usage of new tools
  • Increased government agency engagement with the Archives
  • Increase in the number of agencies achieving Digital Continuity 2020 policy targets

Goal 2: Secure

Secure and preserve nationally significant Australian Government information


Our processes, systems and technology platforms enable efficient selection, transfer, control, preservation and ongoing use of Australian Government information and data in all formats.

What's important?

  • Implement end-to-end digital processes
  • Identify and retain government information of national significance
  • Expand digital archiving capacity within the Archives
  • Digitise the analogue collection with an emphasis on at-risk and high-use information

What we will do

  • Work with agencies to put new Records Authorities in place
  • Build and commission our new digital archive and associated infrastructure
  • Expand the Agency Digitisation Service and roll out the National Digitisation Strategy

What will success look like?

  • Increase in number of agencies with Records Authorities in place
  • Increase in digital archiving capacity
  • Increase in the number of digitised items in the collection and accessible to the public

Goal 3: Connect

Connect Australians to the Archives and our collection


All Australians can access the national archival collection in multiple ways.

What's important?

  • Improve digital and onsite access to our services and the collection
  • Grow the number of visitors to the Archives in all state and territory offices
  • Deliver a national exhibitions touring program and compelling public programs
  • Describe more collection items to support digitisation
  • A new Archives headquarters in the Parliamentary zone

What we will do

  • Build and launch a new Archives website
  • Redevelop our national office in Canberra to create a compelling and unique digitally-driven experience for visitors
  • Establish new partnerships to deliver exhibitions, public events and collection access opportunities
  • Implement the national reference, description and volunteer strategies
  • Design and seek funding approval for a new headquarters

What will success look like?

  • New Archives website operational by mid-2019
  • Increased number of collection items and exhibitions available online
  • East Block redevelopment completed and approval of a new national office secured
  • Increase in new and return visitation: onsite, offsite and online
  • Increase in satisfied visitors and clients

Goal 4: Innovate

Develop our capacity to lead and innovate in the digital age


We are a world leader in digital archiving, including standards and policy development and process and systems design.

What's important?

  • Build staff capability to deliver end-to-end digital services and update IT infrastructure to support staff to work smarter
  • Manage the Archives' digital transition through the Digital Archive Program
  • Embed the Archives' values (The Archives Way) at all levels
  • Modernise the Archives Act for the digital age

What we will do

  • Implement the digital literacy and capability strategies and manage cyber security risks
  • Establish the Digital Archives Taskforce and implement the Digital Archive Program from 1 July 2018
  • Roll out The Archives Way action plan
  • Secure passage of the National Archives Act through Parliament

What will success look like?

  • Increase in the number of Archives staff with digital skills and work functions
  • Digital standards, policies and procedures demonstrate international best practice
  • Increase in staff satisfaction
  • The National Archives Act is legislated and enables the Archives to lead in the digital age

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Archives

'Archives record decisions, actions and memories. Archives are a unique and irreplaceable heritage passed from one generation to another. Archives are managed from creation to preserve their value and meaning. They are authoritative sources of information underpinning accountable and transparent administrative actions. They play an essential role in the development of societies by safeguarding and contributing to individual and community memory. Open access to Archives enriches our knowledge of human society, promotes democracy, protects citizens' rights and enhances the quality of life'.

About us

In keeping with the Universal Declaration on Archives, we strive to provide open access to the unique and irreplaceable heritage of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Archives is a truly national organisation. We have offices in every state and territory to help ensure all Australians have access to the collection and our services.

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