Transferring information to other agencies

Determining who owns the records

Records an Australian Government institution creates or receives belong to the Australian Government.

Under the Archives Act 1983, records that belong to the Australian Government or an Australian Government institution are Commonwealth records.

When changes are made to the machinery of government through Administrative Arrangements Orders, responsibility for managing the records about affected business moves to the newly responsible agency or agencies. Refer to Transferring records after an administrative change.

If Australian Government business is privatised or corporatised, any transfer of ownership of the associated records must be authorised by the National Archives.

Change in ownership

If the government privatises a function or corporatises or sells an agency, a decision needs to be made about who will own the existing records documenting that activity.

Options include:

  • ownership of records will pass to the new owners
  • the Australian Government will retain ownership, but custody of the records is transferred
  • the Australian Government retains both the custody and ownership of the records

The National Archives needs to authorise any change in records ownership by issuing a records authority.

Decisions about records ownership are often complicated.

Discuss your transfer with the National Archives as soon as possible.

Contact the Agency Service Centre if your agency (or a function of your agency) is being privatised or corporatised.