Letter to the Attorney-General

Hon Vickie Chapman MP
Deputy Premier

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the State Records Act 1997 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting (PC013).

State Records is a business unit within the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and as such the administrative reporting relating to State Records that is required under PC013 is included in the consolidated AGD Annual Report.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the State Records of South Australia by:

Simon Froude  
Director, State Records

From the Director

State Records' Archive Strategy includes a vision that; the archive is valued, actively preserved, readily accessible and managed sustainably. To achieve this we provide services to both the community and public sector agencies. Policy developed to support this vision and the Objects of the State Records Act 1997 will ensure the government records being created now, those from the past and those that are yet to be imagined will be available to future generations.

In support of this vision, we released our new Information Management Strategy 2019-2022 (the Strategy) and Information Management Standard (the Standard), which provide agencies with the high-level principles, behaviours and capabilities they must meet to manage their data and information assets.

Further policy development is underway to compliment the Strategy and Standard.

The Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration was presented at the inaugural International Council on Archives (ICA) Indigenous Matters Summit held in Adelaide on 25 October 2019 to guide the ICA and its members to see, hear and walk with First Nations peoples to challenge and decolonise the archive. State Records held an open round table discussion early in 2020 with staff and representatives from the Aboriginal community and key support agencies, to progress this important undertaking.  Future initiatives, including the formulation and implementation of State Records’ response to the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration and the actions that form the basis of that plan, will progress through 2020-21.

The second half of 2019 saw the continuation of State Records’ 100 year centenary celebrations with the Professor Henderson’s ‘Department of Historical Records’ exhibition at the Institute Building on North Terrace in Adelaide.  The Exhibition showcased the nation’s oldest government archive and its history, including its establishment and the people involved.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, State Records implemented significant workplace flexibility with the majority of staff working from home either full or part-time.  The roll out of Microsoft Teams, coupled with the digital environment we now operate within means that we continued to be available and generally able to operate as normal, albeit a different normal to that which we have known in the past. The Research Centre was closed to the public on 17 March 2020 and re-opened on 16 June 2020, with revised opening hours and services in order to support the health and safety of staff and customers.

Making and keeping records, documenting the decisions made and how we used resources during this time is as important as ever. This includes documenting policies and decisions communicated via social media, and keeping records of work undertaken using new collaborative online platforms such as Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. These records will also help us in the future when we look back at the impact of COVID-19.

Looking forward, we have some important initiatives to focus on, none more important than formulating and implementing our response to the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration.

Simon Froude  
Director State Records and State Archivist

Overview: about the agency


State Records of South Australia (State Records) is responsible for the administration of the State Records Act 1997 (Act) on behalf of the Attorney-General.

Legislative functions, objectives and deliverables

State Records has the following functions under section 7 of the Act;

(a) to receive official records into its custody in accordance with this Act;

(b) to ensure the organisation, retention, conservation and repair of official records in its custody;

(c) to make determinations (with the approval of the [State Records] Council) as to the disposal of official records under this Act;

(d) to publish, or assist in the publication of, indexes of, and other guides to, the official records in the custody of State Records or official records whose delivery into State Records' custody has been postponed or is subject to an exemption granted by the Manager;

(e) to provide for public and agency access to the official records in the custody of State Records in accordance with this Act;

(f) to assist in identifying official records in the custody of State Records the disclosure of which might constitute a contravention of aboriginal tradition;

(g) to provide advice and assistance to agencies with respect to their record management practices;

(h) to issue standards (following consultation with the Council) relating to record management and assist in ensuring that agencies observe the best record management practices;

(i) to promote awareness of State Records and its functions;

(j) to perform any other functions assigned to State Records by this or any other Act or by the Minister.

In accordance with section 7(j) of the Act, State Records also

  • Supports the Privacy Committee of South Australia and the State Records Council
  • Administers the State’s copyright use agreements.
  • Supports the Attorney-General in the administration of the Freedom of Information Act 1991
  • Supports the Attorney-General in the administration of the Information Privacy Principles

At 30 June 2020, State Records comprised four functional teams:

  • Archive
  • Executive
  • Information Governance
  • Operations and Improvement.

State Records is a business unit of the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).  As a result, information related to any State Records activity in the following categories is included in the consolidated AGD 2019-20 Annual Report:

  • Employment opportunity programs
  • Agency performance management and development systems
  • Work health, safety and return to work programs
  • Executive employment in the agency
  • Consultant disclosure
  • Fraud detected in the agency
  • Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud
  • Public interest disclosure
  • Public complaints
  • Audited financial statements 2019-20
  • Carers’ Recognition Act 2005.

Contribution to whole of Government objectives

Key objective

Agency’s contribution

Better Services

  • Develop an engagement strategy built around consultation with our stakeholders.
  • Facilitate and support public and agency access to government records in the archive.
  • Maintain the online freedom of information application form for use by the community.
Open and Transparent Government
  • Develop and maintain information management policy for public sector agencies.
  • Provide training for accredited freedom of information officers.
  • Invest in facilities and technology to ensure that records in the archive are maintained and available.
Specific objectives and performance




Progress strategies for ensuring digital continuity across government (including digital archive, digital asset management & archival management system).

Cabinet is aware of the need for a digital archive and associated technology.

A business case for a digital archive is being developed.

Review and update information management policies.

Program of information management policy works identified and delivered to support public sector agencies.

The Information Management Strategy and Standard were published in July 2019.

Draft Minimum recordkeeping metadata requirements and Managing digital records in business and records management systems Standards were developed for stakeholder consultation.

Review and replace General Disposal Schedule (GDS) 20 for Local Government.

Revised GDS 20 delivered.

GDS40 for Local Councils and Governing Bodies (replacing GDS 20) finalised and published.

Celebrate the 2019 centenary of State Records.

Program of promotional events developed and delivered.

Professor Henderson’s Department of Historical Records Exhibition was open to the public at the Institute Building from July 2019 to March 2020 and other events were held in 2019 and 2020.

Redesign State Records’ website.

New website providing improved access to advice and information for agency and public customers is available.

A redesigned and rebranded website was launched in August 2019.

Implement a streamlined transfer process.

High value/ high risk records are transferred from agencies to State Records.

A revised transfer process was implemented reducing transfer times and prioritising older, openly accessible records.

Develop a response that supports the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration.

Engage with Aboriginal stakeholders to help develop an action plan.

An open forum with Aboriginal stakeholders occurred in February 2020 which informed the development of State Records’ response.

Develop online educational tools to support the administration of the Freedom of Information Act 1991

Online tools are developed.

Tools developed and ready for deployment in new learning management system in 2020.

Reporting required under any other act or regulation


Section 16 – Inadequate record management practices to be reported

If the Manager is of the opinion that the record management practices of an agency are inadequate, the Manager must report the matter to the Minister.

Section 32 – Annual Report

  1. The Manager must, on or before 30 September in each year, provide a report to the Minister on the administration of this Act for the 12 months ending on 30 June.
  2. The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament within six sitting days after being provided with the report.


Section 16 - Inadequate record management practices

No reports of inadequate record management practices were made during the reporting year.

More detail regarding programs and initiatives under this Act can be found on the State Records website and in the State Records Annual Statement of Activity for 2019-20.


Section 54 – Reports of Parliament

(1) The Minister administering this Act must –

  • a) as soon as practicable after 30 June and in any case before 31 October in each year prepare a report on this administration of this Act for the 12 months ending on 30 June; and
  • b) cause a copy of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament within six sitting days after preparation of the report is completed.


State Records is responsible for the administration of the Freedom of Information Act 1991 on behalf of the Attorney-General, including preparing an annual report on the administration of the Act.  The annual report is prepared under separate cover and is published on the State Records website.

Privacy Committee of South Australia

4(A) – Annual Report

  1. The Committee must, on or before 30 September in each year, prepare and present to the Minister a report on its activities during the preceding financial year.
  2. The Minister must, within 12 sitting days after receipt of a report under this section, cause copies of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament.
  3. The report must include details of any exemptions granted under clause 4 during the year to which the report relates.


State Records supports the Privacy Committee in producing an annual report.  The annual report is prepared under separate cover and is published on the State Records website.

Page last updated: 31 October 2022