Accessing the records guide
State records are open to public access after 20 years unless the record is subject to an early access authorisation or a closed to public access direction, for example those containing sensitive personal information, may require a longer period of closure.
The Register of access directions lists the access directions in force under the Act.
Principles of Public Access
Public access to the records of Government is a fundamental right in a democratic society. The State Records Act 1998 promotes the principles of accountability and access by providing for the creation, management and protection of State records and for public access to those records. The underlying principle is that all records of continuing value will be publicly available in due course.
Public Access under the State Records Act 1998
Part 6 of the State Records Act creates a framework for regulating public access to State records which have been in existence for at least 20 years (the 'open access period'). The 20 year period has been determined on the basis that most records no longer affect significant interests or are considered sensitive after this time has passed. There is presumption that most records will be open after 20 years. Not all such records, however, are open for public access. Some contain information, such as sensitive personal information, that require a longer period of closure.
Public offices assess the records for which they are responsible, including those held as State archives for continuing sensitivity.
State records are open to public access after 20 years unless the record is subject to an early access authorisation or a closed to public access direction.
Early access authorisation: Public offices can make access directions to open some records before they are 20 years of age
Closed to public access direction (CPA): Public offices can also make access directions to close some records to public access for longer than 20 years to protect sensitive information. A CPA direction remains in force for 5 years - at which time it can be renewed or revoked by the agency