Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

Archivists criticise push to make WA State Records Office part of WA State Library

The Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) has warned the WA state government’s push to make the State Records Office part of the State Library of WA (SLWA) threatens good accountable government, reports the ABC.

The ASA said the government’s proposal, which is part of wide-sweeping public sector reforms, goes against the recommendations made in the ‘WA Inc’ Royal Commission and Commission on Government of the 1980s, which both recommended the establishment of an independent and separate archives authority.

ASA president Julia Mant said the conditions for poor government record keeping ‘that characterised WA Inc’, which refers to a series of deals struck with businesspeople like Alan Bond and Laurie Connell by the then-Labor government under Brian Burke, would reappear under such a change.

ASA treasurer Mark Brogan said the independence of the State Records Office (SRO) was ‘crucial to maintain integrity and ensure government documents and records were authentic, reliable and were not compromised’.

An internal note from then-director-general of the Department of Culture and Arts Duncan Ord on 1 June informed staff the office would become part of the State Library from 1 July.

Ord, who is now head of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, denied the changes to the SRO would compromise its independence. ‘I’m very confident that these administrative changes are actually net positive and we have no intent to diminish the standard of record keeping in this state,’ said Ord. ‘The state archivist and executive director [of] State Records will be reporting to the chief executive and State Librarian, and the functions required under the State Records Act 2000 will continue to be administered with the current SRO resources.’


Category: Library news