26 September 2023

Modern Agencies to make history safer

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Two new State Agencies are to be established to ensure the State’s most important and historic collections, records and archives are better preserved, presented and accessible to the public.

Announced by the Minister for the Arts, Ben Franklin, the new Museums of History NSW (MHNSW) and State Records NSW are to be established under the recently passed Museums of History Bill 2022.

Mr Franklin said the Bill would see NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums brought together to create the flagship body MHNSW.

“The creation of Museums of History NSW is increasing accessibility by making history immersive, discoverable and relevant to the people of NSW,” Mr Franklin said.

“The Bill also includes the creation of State Records NSW, a separate and dedicated agency for recordkeeping standards, regulation, advice, education and policy,” he said.

“The creation of a dedicated Agency will ensure the highest of standards is maintained for NSW Government integrity and accountability now and into the future.”

Chief Executive of NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums, Adam Lindsay said the passing of the Bill was a tremendous achievement in the ongoing preservation of, and access to, the State’s precious history for generations to come.

“History is happening as every moment passes into the next and it can be shared by all of us,” Mr Lindsay said.

“With this formidable portfolio of assets combined with the expertise of our dedicated professionals, the creation of Museums of History NSW offers the chance to dig deep, discover and enjoy the wonders held within this vast and rich collection of archives, objects and built heritage.”

In a statement, State Archives said the Bill also amended the State Records Act 1998, requiring public offices to make transfer plans to ensure that records of enduring value (that are no longer in business use) are cared for in the State Archives Collection managed by MHNSW.

It said the amendments also require public offices to ensure that records in the ‘open access period’ were open by default unless subject to a ‘closed to public access’ direction, and reduced the open access period from 30 years to 20 years.

Mr Franklin said the Museums of History NSW Act 2022 and the majority of amendments to the State Records Act 1998 would be effective from 31 December this year, with provisions related to access and transfer to commence on 1 January 2024.

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