Introduction

The Territory Records Office assists Territory agencies to meet their records management requirements.

The Territory Records Office is responsible for the implementation of the Territory Records Act 2002 (External Link) and the regulation of recordkeeping across the ACT Government. The main purposes of the Territory Records Act 2002 (External Link) are—

  1. To encourage open and accountable government by ensuring that Territory records are made, managed and, if appropriate, preserved in accessible form; and
  2. To support the management and operation of Territory agencies; and
  3. To preserve Territory records for the benefit of present and future generations; and
  4. To ensure that public access to records is consistent with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (External Link) .

The Territory Records Office assists Territory agencies to meet their Records Management requirements as set out in the Territory Records Act 2002 . The Standards for Records Management used by all agencies in the development of their Records Management Programs have been developed by the Territory Records Office.

The Territory Records Act 2002 establishes that each agency is required to develop and maintain a Records Management Program that includes requirements for the creation, management, protection, preservation, storage and disposal of, and access to records of the agency. Agencies are required to develop a Records Management Program that is appropriate and relevant to their functional requirements utilising the Standards and Codes approved by the Director of Territory Records. The Director will ensure that there is a consistent approach to implementing the Standards across government so that records use common terminology and recordkeeping can easily be monitored. A thesaurus of classification terms and disposal schedules for the records of government functions have been developed by the Territory Records Office. An agency’s Records Management Program, which will be the public face of an agency’s recordkeeping practices, will be the primary vehicle for accountability and is to be open for public inspection.

The Territory Records Act 2002 commenced on the 1 July 2003. Part 3 (Access to records) commenced on the 1 July 2008. Records of ACT Government agencies are available under the Access provisions of the Territory Records Act 2002 and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1989.

History of the Territory Records Office

The ACT Archives Project began in February 1998 when the ACT Government decided to undertake an inquiry and feasibility study into the establishment of an ACT Archives for the protection of historical documents and objects with some key archives able to be displayed at the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

In April 1999 the ACT Government released the ACT Archives Project Issues and Options PaperPDF  264Kb ) to seek the advice of the community in relation to the wide range of issues that needed to be considered in relation to the creation, management, access and preservation of the records of the ACT Government. A seminar was held in the Legislative Assembly Building in May 1999 organised by the Australian Society of Archivists (External Link)and the former Records Management Association of Australasia (now Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia) (External Link) to focus attention on the issues under discussion in the Issues and Options Paper. The seminar proceedings were published by the Australian Society of Archivists and are available on the ASA web site.

Professional associations, community organisations and individuals responded to the community consultation. The ACT Archives Project used all of these community responses in the development of policies to provide a whole of government approach to archives and records management throughout the ACT Government. On 16 May 2000, Brendan Smyth MLA, the then Minister, announced that the ACT Government would implement a whole of government approach to archives and records management.

On the 18th January 2001, the Minister released the Exposure Draft and Explanatory Memorandum of the ACT Government's new Territory Records Bill 2001. The Government wished to encourage as much feedback as possible before the Bill was presented to the Assembly for debate and sought public comments on the Exposure Draft of the Bill up to Friday 30 March 2001. On the 21st June 2001 legislation was introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly. This Legislation was not passed before the end of the then Government's term of office and therefore lapsed.

On 11th April 2002 Legislation was introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly by the then Minister for Urban Services Bill Wood MLA, for the management of Territory records. This Legislation was debated and passed in the Assembly on 4th June 2002. The Media ReleaseWord 37Kb ), Ministers Tabling SpeechWord 28Kb ) are available here.

The Territory Records Advisory Council met on Monday 4 June 2012 to recognise the achievements of the previous ten years since the passage of the Territory Records Act 2002.  The highlights and achievements of both the Act and the staff of the Territory Records Office are set out in the attached document prepared for that meeting of the Council: The first ten years of the Territory Records Act 2002 to 4 June 2012 ( PDF 324Kb )