Public Access to Records

In addition to the State Records Act the Government information (Public Access) Act 2009 also provides a public entitlement to information. The Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 also regulate public access to particular types of information.

Public access to the records of Government is a fundamental right in a democratic society. The State Records Act 1998 promotes the principles of accountability and access by providing for the creation, management and protection of State records and for public access to those records. The access Provisions of the Act establish a 30 year open to public access period and provide for authorising longer periods of protection  for sensitive records through the making of access directions.

Creating and capturing records to document activities facilitating the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, including the processing of formal applications, handling of informal requests, conducting of internal reviews and the release of information, enables your organisation to demonstrate that the process was undertaken transparently and accountably.

Records provide an audit trail that can support organisational decision-making and provide transparency. As a number of decisions are reviewable under the GIPA Act, the organisation should build requirements for records creation into procedures for GIPA activities and make sure that all staff are aware and familiar with the requirements.

This guidance has been prepared to enable records managers to understand the relationship between records management and the GIPA Act, the search process, and to inform and assess recordkeeping processes in relation to GIPA. It has been prepared in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) as the agency with oversight for the GIPA Act.