ISSN 1321-6260
April 2020 - No. 140

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MayDay 2020

What is it?

Blue Shield Australia aims to promote the protection of cultural heritage in times of disaster or conflict. Each year Blue Shield Australia runs a MayDay campaign to raise awareness of disaster preparedness and recovery among archives, museums, galleries, local history groups, managers of sites or monuments and other cultural heritage organisations.

What can you do for MayDay 2020?

Due to the current disruptions, MayDay 2020 is a virtual event.

This MayDay you can:

  • Participate in the webinars being run on 1 May, for details see
  • Check your disaster bin. Is it ready to be used if you have a disaster?
  • Make sure your disaster plan is up to date.
  • Start a conversation with your colleagues about disaster preparedness and planning.
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May is Information Awareness Month!

Information Awareness Month (IAM) is a collaborative event between various bodies within the records, archives, library, knowledge, information and data management communities. The theme for 2020 is “Informed about Your Changing Environment”.

The launch of IAM on 1 May 2020 will be an online webinar focused on the importance of the right information, how information can be derived, distributed, used (and misused) in critical situations (such as natural disaster, terror-attack, disease outbreak and similar) and what have we learned from the recent experiences. For further information on IAM events and to register for the webinar see

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Amendment to the Electronic Transactions Act 2000

The Electronic Transactions Act 2000 has been amended as part of the response to COVID-19, and now includes ‘Part 4 Special provisions for COVID-19 pandemic’.  The new Part covers altered arrangements for witnessing signatures and attestation of documents.  The amendment to the Act is to be repealed in approximately 6 – 12 months.

Schedule 1 of the Electronic Transactions Regulation 2017 includes the changes made to respond to COVID-19.  Briefly, audio visual links may be used to witness the signing documents that require a witness; the making of oaths, declaration or affidavit required under the Oaths Act 1900 may be made before an Australian legal practitioner; and statutory declarations may be made before a person identified by the Commonwealth for the purposes of making a statutory declaration.

Public offices should still seek legal advice on records subject to specific legislative or statutory requirements.

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COVID-19 and recordkeeping

Currently many of us are working remotely from our usual workplaces. COVID-19 may be disrupting our lives, but we still need to meet our recordkeeping obligations under the State Records Act 1998.

It’s important to ensure that during this disruption, we make and keep records of our actions, decisions, and communications. Records provide an audit trail that supports organisational decision-making and provides transparency.

See our quick reminders on recordkeeping during COVID-19.

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Recordings of virtual meetings

Due to social distancing requirements NSW public offices have embraced and deployed virtual meetings in lieu of face-to-face meetings. These virtual meeting/conference platforms enable recording of meetings or conferences. These recordings are records and are covered by the State Records Act 1998

The new guidance Recordings of virtual meetings provides information on establishing business rules on how to manage these recordings and related retention and disposal classes.

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As digitisation efforts increase in order to provide services remotely or to support staff working from home, or simply to capitalise on available resources for back-capture, NSW State Archives and Records reminds public offices of digitisation requirements and resources available to assist Digitisation programs.

See particularly:

Note: Managing Digitisation Programs and Projects was published in 2012 whilst some aspects may be less critical today the key messages remain relevant.

    NSW State Archives and Records is interested to hear about the impact of COVID-19 on your digitisation efforts and approaches, email us at

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    Recordkeeping requirements and the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

    New guidance Recordkeeping requirements and the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 has been prepared in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commission to enable public offices to understand the relationship between records management and the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

    A number of decisions are reviewable under the GIPA Act, hence records created through the processing of formal applications, informal requests, internal reviews, and information release, play a vital role in demonstrating that the GIPA process was undertaken transparently and accountably. The guidance is designed to help public offices build requirements for records creation into procedures for GIPA related activities.

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    Inquiry into the State Records Act 1998

    The deadline for submissions to the NSW Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Issues' Inquiry into the State Records Act 1998 and the Historic Houses Act 1980 has been extended to Thursday 30 April 2020.

    Further information about the Inquiry is available from the Parliament of NSW website.

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    Online Jigsaws

    Puzzle your way into the State Archives Collection. Choose the number of pieces to either delight or frustrate! Complete our first ever online jigsaws

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    Sentencing clinics

    Following on from our sentencing clinics, we are developing a short video presentation on how to use the web version of the General retention and disposal authority: administrative records (GA28)Watch this space! 

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    Disposal Authority approved

    The Board recently approved retention and disposal authority for the NSW Education Standards Authority on records documenting the function of school curriculum, assessments, school regulation and teacher accreditation.

    Copies of our retention and disposal authorities are available from the Retention and disposal authorities page on our website.



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