Authorities covering common business activities
General records authorities (GRAs) set out requirements for keeping, destroying or transferring records of business common to many agencies. The National Archives prepares and issues these authorities. The Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA) and AFDA Express are GRAs for a range of common administrative functions.
Below is the current set of GRAs available for use by Australian Government agencies. The administrative functions covered by AFDA and AFDA Express are included for completeness. Do not use AFDA or AFDA Express for agency core business records. Agency specific records authorities are used for records of agency core business.
- Accredited Training (GRA 33)
- Advisory Bodies (GRA 26)
- Community Relations (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Compensation (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Encrypted records created in online security processes
- Equipment and stores (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Establishing & winding up entities & companies (GRA 34)
- Establishment (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Financial management (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Fleet management (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Governing Bodies (GRA 27)
- Government relations (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Grant Management (GRA 28)
- Industrial relations (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Information management (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Legal services (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Occupational health and safety (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Personnel (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Procurement (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Property management (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Publication (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Public or Official Inquiries (GRA 29)
- Records damaged beyond recovery in a natural disaster, a defined emergency or other unforeseen circumstance (GRA 30)
- Records Issues for Outsourcing including GDA 25
- Records Relating to Data Matching Exercises (GDA 24)
- Records Relating to the Commonwealth of Australia Versus Cockatoo Island Dockyard Pty Ltd Arbitration (GDA 23)
- Records Relating to the Intelligence Function in any Commonwealth Agency (GDA 21)
- Source (including original) records after they have been copied, converted or migrated (GRA 31) (2012)
- Small Collection Management (GRA 32) (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Staff development (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Strategic management (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Technology and telecommunications (AFDA) (AFDA Express)
- Transfer of custody and ownership of Personal Security Files (PSFs)
This general records authority sets out the retention and destruction requirements for accredited training records of Australian government agencies that are also Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
It covers gaining accreditation as an RTO, the planning, development and implementation of training programs, enrolment and assessment of trainees, the awarding of qualifications, and the monitoring of organisational performance.
Note: The authority does not identify any 'Retain as national archives' (RNA) records. RTOs that deliver accredited training in high risk business areas, such as training provided by security or intelligence agencies, or the Department of Defence, must contact the Archives for agreement to use the authority.
This general records authority sets out the retention and destruction requirements for all administrative and core business records of both statutory and non statutory advisory bodies. It covers developing and reporting on advice including supporting consultation, membership records, records of meetings and other supporting administrative records.
The XML and Excel files are truncated versions of the GRA for Advisory Bodies which may be useful for uploading into information systems. They should only be used in conjunction with the pdf version as they do not contain the full information.
Encrypted records created in online security processes
This disposal authority allows and sets conditions for the disposal of encrypted records created during online security processes. It includes encrypted versions of inbound and outbound electronic transactions.
This General Records Authority is intended to cover only the records of establishing, non-routine reviewing, for example as a result of non-compliance, and winding up of these organisations. It also includes the records of appointments, including statutory appointments, to these entities and companies and the personnel records of staff employed under legislation other than the Public Service Act 1999 or previous legislation.
It takes into account legal and organisational records management requirements, and the interests of stakeholders, including Commonwealth agencies and the National Archives of Australia to preserve the archival resources of the Commonwealth.
This general records authority sets out the requirement for keeping, destroying and transferring day-to-day administration and operational records of an agency’s governing body such as providing secretariat and administrative support, minutes of meetings, arrangements for travel, leave entitlements, allowances, remunerations and membership appointment and separation records.
The XML and Excel files are truncated versions of the Governing Bodies General Records Authority which may be useful for uploading into information systems. These files should only be used in conjunction with the pdf version, as they do not contain the full information.
NOTE: A 'For Statement' has been added April 2012 under class 21581 to clarify that addresses/presentations made by Governing Body members are retained as National Archives under AFDA/AFDA Express.
This authority is aimed at Australian Government agencies that administer grant programs. It has a similar format to the AFDA Express, with aggregated classes to assist sentencing projects.
This authority applies to the records of temporary, independent inquiries established by Australian Government ministers to inquire into and report on matters of public importance or public interest. The authority covers consultative inquiries as well as more formal Commissions of inquiry other than Royal Commissions.
Records damaged beyond recovery in a natural disaster, a defined emergency or other unforeseen circumstance (GRA 30)
This records authority authorises the destruction of records damaged beyond recovery in a natural disaster, a defined emergency or other unforeseen circumstance. It requires the Archives to be notified of records destroyed beyond recovery and the circumstances.
Records Issues for Outsourcing including GDA 25
This disposal authority covers the transfer of custody and ownership of records to contractors providing services on behalf of, or to, government under outsourcing arrangements. The authority is included in Records Issues for Outsourcing which provides guidelines for agencies about their responsibilities for records management when employing contractors.
Records Relating to Data Matching Exercises (GDA 24)
The provisions of this Authority are consistent with the requirements of the Data Matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 and the voluntary guidelines issued by the Privacy Commission on the use of data matching in the Australian Government.
Records Relating to the Commonwealth of Australia Versus Cockatoo Island Dockyard Pty Ltd Arbitration (GDA 23)
This disposal authority relates to the Commonwealth of Australia versus Cockatoo Island Dockyard arbitration proceedings. This authority is an exception to the general coverage of the other GDAs as it only relates to specific agencies concerned with the case.
Records Relating to the Intelligence Function in any Commonwealth Agency (GDA 21)
This disposal authority covers records relating to the collection, interpretation and analysis, and distribution of intelligence material related to the security of Australia and Australians. It can be used by any Australian Government agency and covers records created by or received by the Australian Government from domestic or foreign sources.
Source (including original) records after they have been copied, converted or migrated (GRA 31) (2012)
The authority allows destruction of many original records after they have been copied, converted, or migrated. Retain as national archives (RNA) records created before 1995 are excluded.
GRA 31 can be used when a disposal freeze has been issued except where there is a specific exclusion.
An exclusion applies to records that are subject to the Eligibility to join a Commonwealth superannuation scheme disposal freeze, as the freeze supports a number of ongoing court cases. You must discuss any plans to digitise and destroy personnel records with the Archives. For more information please contact the Agency Service Centre (02) 6212 3610.
The revised version has three changes from the September 2011 version:
- RNA records from 1995 are now covered (previously covered from 2000).
- Digitisation of physical records that are RNA or Retain Permanently must follow National Archives format standards and verification processes. Scanning Specifications (pdf, 124kb) (doc, 40kb)
- Clarification that the creation date of the source record is to be used as the date of the copy for the purposes of the Archives Act 1983.
Superseded versions of GRA 31:
The 2011 version of GRA 31 and associated guidelines were superseded on 1 November 2012.
- (Superseded) General Records Authority 31 (GRA 31) for source (including original) records after they have been copied, converted or migrated (pdf, 140kb) (doc, 324kb) .
- (Superseded) Guidelines for using General Records Authority (31) for source (including original) records after they have been copied, converted or migrated (pdf, 258kb)(doc, 221kb) .
The 2003 version of GRA 31 was superseded on 1 November 2011. (Superseded) General Disposal Authority for source records that have been copied, converted or migrated (February 2003) (pdf, 504kb).
This authority covers the records used to manage small or incidental collections acquired by agencies through donation, purchase or as an outcome of operational activity. Examples include collections of rock samples, plant samples, confiscated items and other historical items and artefacts. The authority excludes collection items although where Commonwealth records are included in collections, the Archives Act continues to apply.
The Authority does not apply to agencies that have a special responsibility for managing and developing cultural collections.
Transfer of custody and ownership of Personal Security Files (PSFs)
This authority permits agencies to transfer the custody or ownership, as appropriate, of PSFs to State and Territory agencies or police forces in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Manual (PSPF). Related to broader arrangements to extend the use of the PSM to State and Territory bodies, the authority facilitates the portability of PSFs for employees who move to other jurisdictions and require security clearances. The authority will be of most relevance to agency security advisers and staff responsible for managing PSFs.