NSW digital records on hold

A report issued by the NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, has found that a lack of critical infrastructure means the State Records Authority is declining NSW Government agencies’ requests to archive digital information, despite a ministerial memorandum acknowledging the increasing use of digital information.

The report recommends the Authority address the breach of its enabling legislation by establishing a government digital archiving solution.

“Currently, the Authority declines digital records that an agency wishes to transfer for
archiving because it does not have the infrastructure to access the information in the record.

“The Crown Solicitor has advised that if the Authority holds public records that are not accessible, the Authority is in breach of its enabling legislation. Notwithstanding its current policy of declining records, the Authority holds some inaccessible records and is in breach.”

It also notes that the Authority will run out of storage space in 2010-11, and while the Board has endorsed expansion of its record centre, construction is not expected to commence until the 2012 financial year.

“Until the new building is constructed, the Authority will expand its storage capacity through leasing additional off-site storage as required. While the Authority can lease off-site warehousing cheaply, the Authority reports that these sites are of a lower standard and less efficient to service than purpose built facilities.”

The physical quantity of State archives is currently around 67.2 linear kilometres (65.9 in 2008-09).