The ACT public service – 20 years on

Media release: Thursday, 7 August 2014

The ACT's first Chief Minister Rosemary Follett AO, will be sharing her memories of the early years of self-government and the ACT public service on Sunday 10 August, at the National Archives in Canberra.

The event, organised jointly by the National Archives and the Territory Records Office, marks their shared history as keepers of ACT history.

'Until self-government in 1989, ACT administration records were the responsibility of the Commonwealth and the National Archives,' said National Archives Director-General David Fricker. 'In 2002 the Territory Records Office was established to continue the task of ensuring ACT Government records are preserved and accessible now and in the future.'

'Our organisations have a strong history of collaboration. In recent times we have published a joint guide to government records about the ACT, and we worked together to bring the original City of Canberra Coat of Arms into the ACT's custody.'

Danielle Wickman, Director of Territory Records, said the event was to mark the 20th anniversary of the ACT Public Service.

'While self-government commenced in the ACT in 1989, it was not until 1994 with the passage of the Public Sector Management Act that the ACT Public Service became a separate entity from the Commonwealth service,' she said.

'The Act defines the values and principles that public servants should uphold, including responsiveness to the government and the community, and accountability to government for their performance. These are attributes that all governments and citizens expect, and it was not tenable in the long term that the servants of one government should remain employees of another.'

Ms Wickman said the ACT government and the administration which serves it are distinctively different from other Australian governments.

'Contained in a concentrated geographic space, they oversee a uniquely broad range of matters from collecting garbage, fixing potholes, and providing local libraries to running a prison, hospitals, and public schools,' she said.

The free Speakers Corner event A Service for the City: the twentieth anniversary of the ACT Public Service by Rosemary Follett is on at the National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace, ACT at 2pm on Sunday 10 August. Bookings are essential at naa.gov.au/visit-us/events.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Dani Wickman (Director of Territory Records)
    t (02) 6207 0194 m 0415 553 391
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014