The purpose of a retention and disposal authority is to identify those records created and maintained by NSW public offices which are required as State archives and to provide approval for the destruction of certain other records created and maintained by NSW public offices, after minimum retention periods have been met.

To simplify the disposal process we encourage the development and use of general disposal authorities based around broad functions and the expansion of existing disposal authorities to cover agencies that perform similar functions. We do not require each agency to have its own specific functional disposal authority, nor do we require a new disposal authority when there is administrative change but no change to functions. For more information see the procedures for disposal authorisation or contact us at to seek advice about whether a new authority is required or to seek permission to use an existing authority.

Note: The approval for disposal given by authorities issued by State Records is given under the provisions of the State Records Act 1998 only and does not override any other obligations of an organisation to retain records. A public office must not dispose of any records where the public office is aware of possible legal action (including legal discovery, court cases, formal applications for access) where the records may be required as evidence. See Retention and disposal for further advice about disposal and disposal alerts or freezes.

General retention and disposal authorities
Provide disposal coverage for common activities carried out by all agencies, such as personnel and finance, or for organisations within a particular sector such as local councils, public health services or universities.

Functional retention and disposal authorities
Provide disposal coverage for unique functions carried out by State government agencies

Published April 2014