On 1 January 1999 the State Records Authority of New South Wales was created by the State Records Act, 1998 (Act No. 17, 1998) and replaced the Archives Authority of New South Wales. The Archives Authority of New South Wales which constituted the controlling Board of the Archives Office was replaced by the Board of the State Records Authority. (1)
The State Records Act defines a record as "any document or other source of information compiled, recorded or stored in written form or film, or by electronic process, or in any other manner by any other means". Aboriginal Relics, however, were excluded from the operation of the Act. A State Record "means any record made and kept, or received and kept, by any person in the course of the exercise of official functions in a public office, or for any purpose of a public office, or for the use of a public office". (2)
The definition of 'public offices' is broader than that of the superseded Archives Act, 1960 (Act No. 46) 1960 and includes Parliament, courts and tribunals, local government bodies, State owned corporations, the universities and the public hospital system.
Records of the Governor, Parliament and the courts are covered only by the provisions for "Protection of State records" and "Recovery of estrays and other State records". These public offices may by agreement be covered by the remaining parts of the Act.
The Act applies to State records transferred to a private successor of a public office as the result of the transfer of its functions. (3) Like the Archives Act, however, the new Act does not apply to the records of private individuals or organisations. Nor does it apply to private records held by State collecting institutions. (4) The Act does enable the State Records Authority to advise on and foster the preservation of the archival resources of the State, whether public or private. (5)
Electronic records are recognised throughout the Act - public offices must maintain accessibility to their technology dependent records with "migration" of existing records into new technology, creating records or copies of records, using technology that outlasts technological change, or by retaining existing technology. There are guidelines on the disposal of computer records and computer support records, specifically e-mail and voice-mail messages.
The State Records Authority of New South Wales has four operational programs -
* Government Recordkeeping
* Control and Management of State Archives
* Public Access to State Archives
* Records Storage and Associated Services.
State Record Authority of New South Wales's major logistical base at Kingswood was renamed as the Western Sydney Records Centre, however, the Government Records Repository (GRR) name was not changed.
The State Records Act, 1998 introduced a statutory open access period applying to records over 30 years old, whether they are under the control of State Records or a public office and regardless of their disposal status. The fact that a record is 30 years old does not automatically mean that it is open for public access. The State Records Act places the obligation to make access decisions (called "access directions") on public offices. An access direction must either make the records open to public access, or closed to public access. (6)
Public offices were assisted in making access directions by guidelines issued by the Attorney General in consultation with a range of stake holders to provide a consistent basis for protecting privacy and confidentiality in records more than 30 years old across government. (7)
State Records Authority of New South Wales is required to keep a register of access directions that are in force under the Act which is available to the public free of charge. (8, 9)
From 15 July 2005 the State Records Authority of New South Wales's alternative name was "State Records NSW". (10)
From 1 November 2006 the State Records Authority of New South Wales became a business unit of the Department of Commerce under NSW Procurement. (11) From 10 December 2007 the State Records Authority of New South Wales was aligned with the Government Chief Information Office in the Department of Commerce and ceased to be part of NSW Procurement. (12)
From 1 July 2009 when the Department of Commerce was abolished the State Records Authority of New South Wales became a branch of the new Principal Department, the Department of Services, Technology and Administration. (13)
From 4 April 2011 when the name of the Department of Services, Technology and Administration was changed the State Records Authority of New South Wales became a branch of the Department of Finance and Services. (14)
From 25 October 2016 the name of the Authority was changed to "State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales". The Authority's alternative names were "State Archives", "State Archives NSW" and "State Archives and Records NSW". (15)
From 7 December 2017 the Authority's alternative names were "NSW State Archives" and "NSW State Archives and Records". At the same time its Director became the Executive Director of the Authority. (16)
From 1 July 2018 the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales transferred from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation to the Department of Planning and Environment. (17) From 1 July the State Records Act 1998 became the responsibility of the Minister for the Arts. (18)
1. Proclaimed 1 January 1999, NSW Government Gazette No.171, 11 December 1998, p.9457.
2. State Records Act, 1998 (Act No.17, 1998) sections 3 & 4.
3. Ibid. Section 8.
4. Ibid. Section 5.1.
5. Ibid. Section 66.1c.
6. Ibid. Section 51.2.
7. Ibid. Section 52.3.
8. Ibid. Section 61.
9. Ibid. Section 55.1.
10. State Records Amendment Act 2005 (Act No.85, 2005) Sch. 1 cls. 16 amending s.63 (3) of the Principal Act.
11. NSW Government Gazette No.127, 27 October 2006, p.8903 and NSW Department of Commerce, Communique, September-December 2006, p.6.
12. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Annual Report, 2007-2008, p.75.
13. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departmental Amalgamations) Order 2009 (2009 No 352) cls. 28; notified on NSW Legislation website, 27 July 2009.
14. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departments) Order 2011 (2011 No 184) cls. 29; notified on NSW Legislation website, 3 April 2011.
15. Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2016 (Act No.55, 2016), Sch. 1.29 amending s.63 of the Principal Act.
16. Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2017 (Act No.63, 2017), Sch. 1.17 cls. 2 amending s.63 of the Principal Act and cls.  amending s.3 of the Principal Act.
17. Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes - NSW State Archives and Subsidence Advisory NSW) Order 2018 (2018 No 276), cl. 3; notified on NSW Legislation Website, 22 June 2018.
18. Administrative Arrangements (Administration of Acts - Amendment No 3) Order 2018 (2018 No 277); notified on NSW Legislation Website, 22 June 2018.