Disposal of information

Regular authorised disposal will reduce the costs of storing and managing information and records no longer required for business purposes.

Disposal of a Commonwealth record according to the Archives Act 1983 may mean:

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

This includes the physical destruction of paper records, the deletion of data from business systems, the transfer of records to another agency as the result of machinery of government change, or the transfer of records to the National Archives of Australia.

Under Section 24 of the Archives Act 1983 disposal of records can take place without breaching the Act if it is:

  • approved by the National Archives
  • required by another law
  • a normal administrative practice (NAP)

Section 26 of the Archives Act 1983 refers to a particular category of Commonwealth records that are over 15 years. These records may not be altered or added to without authorisation from the National Archives.

Occasionally the National Archives suspends its records disposal permissions by issuing a records disposal freeze or retention notice. This action means that your agency must not destroy records, which are relevant to certain events or circumstances, even if records authorities allow such destruction.

More information

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017