Transferring information to the National Archives

Australian Government agencies transfer selected information and records to the National Archives for preservation and access.

These records have been identified as 'Retain as national archives' (RNA) in a records authority and are no longer used on a regular basis.

Transferring records to the National Archives is a collaborative process. We provide advice to help your agency identify and prepare records for transfer.

We prioritise transfer of paper-based, audio-visual and digital material based on the content, age and quantity of records.

Transfer steps

There are several steps to transferring your records to the National Archives.

Identify your records for transfer

Confirm with your records management area that the:

  • records are sentenced as RNA under a current records authority
  • business use has ended

Records are sentenced using either your own agency specific records authority or a general records authority such as AFDA Express Version 2.

Contact us to discuss your transfer

If you are ready to transfer RNA records to the National Archives, or if you want to ask us about the transfer procedure, contact the Agency Service Centre.

We will ask questions to confirm that the records are suitable for transfer. Refer to the Initial assessment questions for the kinds of questions we are likely to ask.

For the physical transfer of records, the timing and location will depend on our national transfer plan's schedule.

For digital records, we discuss digital transfer requirements such as:

  • format
  • size
  • metadata
  • storage device

Prepare your records for transfer

Make sure the records:

  • belong to the same series
  • have the same security classification
  • are in record number (control symbol) order

Refer to the guidelines in the transfer pack for physical records labelling, packaging and transport instructions.

Provide digital records to us on an agreed portable storage device such as a USB or hard drive.

For more details, refer to Preparing records for transfer.

Complete and return transfer documents

We send you transfer documents to complete and return. These are similar for physical and digital transfers.

The transfer documents includes:

  • a Transfer Proposal Approval (TPA) form
  • a format specific item list
  • guidelines on how to complete each form

For physical transfers, we provide guidelines on record labelling, packaging and transportation.

You can prepare the records for transfer while you complete the forms to avoid double handling. Check the records match the information in the item list and TPA.

Transfer approval and confirmed delivery date

After reviewing your TPA and item list, we may have further questions or may ask you to revise the transfer documents before we approve the transfer.

When we approve the transfer, we will:

  • schedule the transfer delivery date and location
  • advise you of the details

Transfer completion

Your agency transports the records to the agreed National Archives repository on the agreed delivery date, at your agency’s expense. Keep the records in your agency’s custody until then.

Follow the Australian Government Protective Security Framework for handling and transporting classified records. Ask your agency security area for advice.

We will let you know when your transfer is complete and provide you with relevant documentation.