Records relating to eligibility to join a Commonwealth superannuation scheme

The National Archives of Australia, in consultation with the Department of Finance, has extended the disposal freeze on selected personnel and superannuation records that relate to Cornwell-type superannuation claims until 31 December 2030. The Archives can provide guidance on strategies for managing records associated with the freeze, and will discuss any specific concerns with individual agencies. This disposal freeze supports a number of ongoing court cases and you must discuss any plans to digitise and destroy records subject to this freeze with the Archives and the Department of Finance. For enquiries, please contact the Agency Service Centre.

More information about the records affected by the freeze is contained in the Disposal Freeze Notice.

Summary of changes to the scope of the 2015 notice:

  • narrows the target dates of the freeze
  • reduces the number of records categories to support understanding of the freeze scope
  • extends the freeze to 2030.

Note: Commonwealth agencies no longer need to apply to the Department of Finance to use General Records Authority 31 (GRA 31) to destroy hard copy files of digitised information relating to Cornwell-type superannuation claims. This requirement was formally rescinded by the Department of Finance on the 21 March 2019.

The National Archives' digitisation requirements must continue to be applied by agencies and entities digitising relevant records, including application of appropriate quality assurance processes as outlined in GRA 31.


Prior to 2000, some classes of Commonwealth employees were not required to join a superannuation scheme, but could elect to join. In April 2007 the High Court found the Commonwealth liable for damages because negligent advice about eligibility to join a scheme was given to one of these employees (the Cornwell case). These records may be needed in processing claims.

More information about the previous disposal freezes are contained in the following notices: