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Archives Act 1983, Act No. 79 of 1983 as amended (full-text).
Access to archival records of the Australian Government is governed by the Act. Under the Act a citizen have a right of access to Commonwealth government records that are in the open access period. Following amendments to the Act approved by Parliament in May 2010, the open access period for Commonwealth records as defined by the Act begins after 20 years instead of the previous 30 years. The open access period for Cabinet notebooks will begin after 30 years, instead of 50 years. The 99-year access rule for Census records remains unchanged.
Cloud computing Edit
Section 24 of the Act provides that a person must not engage in conduct that results in the transfer of the custody or ownership of a Commonwealth record other than, relevantly under Section 24(2)(b) and (c), with the permission of the National Archives of Australia or in accordance with a practice or procedure approved by the Archives, or in accordance with a normal administrative practice of which the Archives does not disapprove.
On this basis, the National Archives of Australia would not approve a decision to use a cloud service without appropriate controls and protections for Commonwealth records in place. Agencies should make a risk-based decision, taking into account all Commonwealth compliance interests, including risks to the records. Controls and protections should appropriately match the value of the records.
Section 24 requires agencies to consider carefully what records will reside in the cloud and to ensure that the terms of contracts with providers adequately address issues of control, ownership and management of records. Agencies should approach the National Archives if they have questions.