- What is public access to government information?
- Proactive release of Information
- Informal Release of Information
- How to make a formal access application
- Application fees and processing charges
- The Information Privacy Commission (IPC)
In this section:
What is public access to government information?
How can I access information held by State Archives and Records Authority NSW (SARA)?
- Search on this website
- Make an informal request
- Make a formal access application
What is public access to government information?
The objective of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) is to make government information more accessible to the public by requiring government agencies to make certain sorts of information freely available, encouraging government agencies to release as much other information as possible, giving the public an enforceable right to make access applications for government information, and restricting access to information only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
Open access information (Mandatory Disclosure)
The GIPA Act provides that certain prescribed information must be made available free of charge on the NSW State Archives website. This includes the following “open access information”:
- Policy documents
- NSW State Archives’ disclosure log of access applications
- Information Guide
- NSW State Archives Register of Government Contracts (via the NSW Tenders website)
- Documents that are tabled in Parliament concerning NSW State Archives
- Major assets and acquisitions
- Properties disposed of by NSW State Archives
- Guarantee of services
- Record of open access information that is not made available to the public on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure
- Media releases
We will proactively release as much information as possible. Sometimes this may not be possible, for instance, if the information concerns another party's affairs. You can ask what further information we will make available, in addition to the information already publicly accessible.
Corporate reporting, planning and policy
- Current Annual Report
- Past Annual Reports
- Strategic plan 2016 - 2021 (PDF)
- Board of NSW State Archives – minutes/meeting papers (available in hardcopy)
- Privacy Management Plan (PDF)
Corporate information and communications (including information management and technology)
- Information Security policy
- Records management policy
State Archives and Records Authority NSW have created and comply with Personnel Policies providing an inclusive workplace that is physically and mentally safe for all our workers, volunteers, interns, visitors and others.
Providing services to the community
State Archives and Records Authority NSW takes seriously its obligations under work, health and safety laws and all other laws and regulations, and its obligation to provide good stewardship of public resources by maintaining constructive workplaces. State Archives and Records Authority NSW supports the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. A diverse workforce which is free of bullying, discrimination and harassment and reflective of the NSW community is more innovative and productive, and better able to deliver high quality services.
Total number and value of properties disposed of by the Agency during the previous financial year
Guarantee of Service
NSW State Archives is committed to providing a quality service to all its clients. Our guarantee of service for: reading room; enquiries; copying; extension activities; publications, and; the website.
Code of Ethics and Conduct
As workers of State Archives and Records Authority NSW it is essential that we demonstrate to the government and people of NSW high standards of conduct and ethics in the performance of our duties. We strive to conduct our business with efficiency, economy, fairness and impartiality. SARA & SLM’s Code of Conduct establishes a common understanding of the obligations and standards of conduct and behaviour expected of each of us.
As outlined in the Code of Conduct all workers must comply with the Code of Ethics and Conduct for NSW government sector employees issued by the public service commissioner as well as this supplementary Code of Conduct.
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), agencies are required to keep a record (a Disclosure Log) of information about formal applications it received under the GIPA Act.
The Disclosure Log sets out information that is released under the GIPA Act that may be of interest to members of the public. Prior to 1 April 2022, GIPA applications were administered by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and recorded applications can be found in their Disclosure Log.
Currently all State Archives' GIPA applications are administered by SARA’s Governance Team and will be made available in due course.
Proactive release of Information
Certain information will be available on our website and we will proactively release as much information as possible. Contact Governance if you are unsure where the information may be held. Includes our:
- Release of Information Policy Release of Government Information under the GIPA Act 2009
- Annual Report
- Our Code of Ethics and Conduct (PDF)
- Our Strategic Plan - 2016 - 2021 (PDF)
- Rights and permission for using State archives
- Final Report - Recordkeeping Assessment - Office of the Premier January 2021 (PDF)
Proactive release - Archives - Providing public access to State records
- Access Directions - Register
- Guides for the public on:
- Guides to State archives
- Outreach activities
- Rights and permissions
- Readers' ticket applications
Providing Services to the community
- Outward loans policy for exhibition curators
- Online Publication Policy (PDF)
- Our Code of Ethics and Conduct (PDF)
Providing records storage services (Government Records Repository - GRR)
Informal Release of Information
You can ask for specific information on an informal basis. Contact Governance, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you think we are likely to hold the information or if you are unsure where the information may be held.
If the information you are after has not already been published by State Archives and Records Authority, and is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of possible public interest or reasons why it should be kept confidential, then we may be able to release it to you on request without the formalities of having to make a formal application.
If you think this applies to the information you are after you can contact us, in writing, to make an informal request.
Generally, we try to release information we hold without the need for you to make a formal access application, unless there are good reasons to require one.
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, however, Government agencies are not required to release information without an access application. SARA reserves the right to require you to lodge an access application, particularly if there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released or if you request a large volume of information or if it would otherwise take SARA a significant amount of time to consider your request.
We will give you a decision as quickly as possible. If we can't provide a final decision within 20 working days, we will let you know when you can expect one.
There is no right of review if you are not happy with an informal decision. If you make a formal application for the information, you will then have review rights.
How to make a formal access application
If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by SARA, on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information. It may not be necessary to make a formal application. Under its policies and through its web sites and numerous other publications, many SARA documents are publicly available.
This is a last resort. You should first see what information is publicly available or will be made available. However, there may be public interest reasons why the information may not be released informally, or a third party will need to be consulted in relation to the release of their business or personal information, in which case a formal application should be lodged.
Attaching form and sending Governance@records.nsw.gov.au
Please note there are EFT options for payment on the access form
State Archives and Records Authority NSW
161 O’Connell St
KINGSWOOD NSW 2747
The GIPA Act states that we are only able to accept access applications that:
- Are in writing and sent to us by either option
- Clearly state you are requesting information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009;
- Enclose the $30 application fee (EFT or money order or cheque option);
- Have a return postal address as the address for correspondence; and
- Include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are asking for.
If your application does not meet these five requirements it will be considered an invalid application and will not be processed. If that happens, however, a Governance Representative will let you know and will help you, if possible, by explaining how to meet these requirements.
Otherwise you will receive acknowledgment of receipt within 5 working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extensions allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, a Governance Representative will let you know in writing.
Application fees and processing charges
The application fee for making an access application is $30. Processing charges can also be imposed at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances an advance fee may be required. A Governance Representative will let you know in writing if that applies to your application.
Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds – for more details see the Information and Privacy Commission's Fact Sheets
The Information Privacy Commission (IPC)
The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) is an independent statutory authority comprising two public offices: the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner. Information and Privacy Commission.