Letter to the Attorney

To: Hon. Kyam Maher MLC - Attorney-General

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Section 32 of the State Records Act 1997 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting (PC013).

State Records of South Australia (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:

Stephanie Coleman
Director, State Records

From the Director

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the former Director of State Records, Mr Simon Froude, for his contributions to the management of records in South Australia, having served as Director from February 2015 up to May 2022.

In 2021-22, State Records continued to refresh its information management policy suite with the release of the Disposal Standard that has been developed to assist agencies in disposing of government information lawfully and efficiently.  Supporting guidelines were also under development that will assist agencies to create disposal schedules and to ensure agency digitisation activities are viable, planned and fit for purpose.

As part of our formal response to the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration, the Aboriginal Reference group, a joint initiative with the State Library of South Australia, was established.  This Group held its inaugural meeting on 7 March 2022 and will play a critical role in guiding the development and implementation of State Records programs, activities and services that relate to Aboriginal people in South Australia.

As regular contributors to the National Family History Month and the South Australian History Festival, the focus of this year’s program of community engagement events was to improve public access to the archive through promotion of the collection and our services.  In August 2021 State Records contributed to the Discovering Kin and Country, an online event that featured a number of record holding organisations with services for Aboriginal people researching their family and community histories.  In partnership with the University of Adelaide Library, State Records held an exhibition, Foundations to Federation, Stories from the Archives, in May 2022.  This exhibition showcased significant nineteenth century records.

Looking forward, we have some important initiatives to focus on, including the release of the Information Governance Guideline and self-assessment tool through which agencies will be able to assess their level of information management maturity and compliance with the Information Management Standard.  We will also be looking to progress procurement of new technologies to assist in the management of the Archive.

Stephanie Coleman
State Records of South Australia


Our Purpose

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

Our legislative functions, objectives and deliverables

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

  1. to receive official records into its custody in accordance with this Act;
  2. to ensure the organisation, retention, conservation and repair of official records in its custody;
  3. to make determinations (with the approval of the [State Records] Council) as to the disposal of official records under this Act;
  4. 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;
  5. to provide for public and agency access to the official records in the custody of State Records in accordance with this Act;
  6. to assist in identifying official records in the custody of State Records the disclosure of which might constitute a contravention of aboriginal tradition;
  7. to provide advice and assistance to agencies with respect to their record management practices;
  8. to issue standards (following consultation with the Council) relating to record management and assist in ensuring that agencies observe the best record management practices;
  9. to promote awareness of State Records and its functions;
  10. 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 Attorney-General in the administration of the:
    • Freedom of Information Act 1991, and
    • Information Privacy Principles
  • Supports the Privacy Committee of South Australia and the State Records Council
  • Administers the State Government’s copyright use agreements.

At 30 June 2022, 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 2021-22 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.

The agency's performance

  • Facilitate and support public and agency access to government records in the archive.
  • Develop and maintain information management policy for public sector agencies.
  • Provide education for recordkeeping.




Ensure the long-term accessibility of the collection through preservation, management and quality improvements.

Pilot to digitise audio-visual material in the collection in response to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Deadline 2025 discussion paper.

64 at risk films and tapes were digitised and a review of the film and magnetic media collection was undertaken by ACMI.

Review and update information management policies.

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

The Disposal Standard was published in late 2021.

A draft Information Governance Guideline, Self-Assessment Tool, Incident Management for Information Assets Guideline, Agency Access Loans Conditions, Developing Disposal Determinations Guideline and Digitisation Guideline were developed for stakeholder consultation.

Improve public access to the Archive and focus on community engagement.

Implement tools and technologies to improve customer experience, e.g. webinars and social media platforms in accordance with Engagement Strategy.

Program of engagements completed, including:

  • Discovering Kin and Country Aboriginal family history webinar, August 2021
  • Family history webinar for National Family History Month, August 2021
  • Local history presentation at the Port Adelaide Library, August 2021
  • Petitions in the Archive talk at the Adelaide City Library, September 2021
  • Presentations about nurses records and shipping records for the Genealogy Gems series (Genealogy SA and State Library of South Australia), September 2021 and March 2022
  • Foundations to Federation, Stories from the Archives exhibition, May 2022
  • History Festival events, including tours of the Gepps Cross repository and Research Centre, talk on true crime stories and Tracking Family in Public Records Aboriginal family history talk, May 2022

Develop a response that supports the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration.

Develop a program of works to work towards meeting the objectives of the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration.

Terms of Reference for an Aboriginal Reference Group finalised with a program of works being developed.

Develop online educational tools.

Online tools developed and launched on website.

Tools developed and ready for deployment in new a learning management system in 2022-23.

State Records Strategic Plan 2023-26.

Develop a Strategic Plan outlining how State Records will meet its vision and purpose from 2023 to 2026.

Engagement workshops held with staff and stakeholders to develop areas of priority for goals or actions.

Drafting of the Strategic Plan for 2023-26 commenced.  The Plan to be finalised following consultation in the first half of the 2022-23 financial year.

State Records Act


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

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. 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.

More detail regarding programs and initiatives under this Act can be found on the State Records website and in the Annual Activity Statement of State Records for 2021-22.

Page last updated: 7 November 2022