Information disposal

Regular authorised disposal will reduce the costs of storing and managing information, data and records no longer needed for business or other purposes.

What 'information disposal' means

Disposing of information does not always mean information is destroyed.

Under the Archives Act 1983, disposal of Australian Government information means either:

  • its destruction
  • the transfer of its custody or ownership
  • damage or alteration

Approval to dispose of information

Under Section 24 of the Archives Act 1983, disposal of records can take place if it is:

Why dispose of information

Information is disposed of to improve:

  • Security — securely disposing of information ensures confidential information is not shared, made public or sold to third parties.
  • Storage space – reducing the amount of information being stored either physically or digitally reduces storage costs.
  • Searchability – disposing of information that is no longer needed makes it easier for agencies and researchers to find relevant information.

Information is also disposed of to meet legal requirements as stated under the Archives Act 1983, Section 24(2)(a).

Appraising information before disposal

Agency staff review records authorities to check how information is to be disposed of.

To determine an appropriate disposal classification, consider:

  • the business the information describes
  • legislative requirements
  • its potential value as evidence
  • its value as a community resource
  • stakeholder expectations

Resentence the information if the appraisal indicates the disposal classification is no longer correct.

For more information, refer to Sentencing and appraisal.

If the sentencing still applies and the information is being physically destroyed, review the guidelines in the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework to choose destruction methods suitable for physical information.

Refer to Compliant destruction of Australian Government information to choose destruction methods for digital information.