25 September 2023

Union call to avoid Archives amnesia

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The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has called for extra funding for the National Archives of Australia or ‘risk losing the nation’s ‘memory’.

Deputy Secretary of the CPSU, Beth Vincent-Pietsch made the call, saying the union supported the comments of retired High Court Judge Michael Kirby who said increased funding was required ‘urgently’.

“We must get more funding for the National Archives, as years of cuts have eroded the Archives’ capacity to deliver its functions,” Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.

She said the demands of digitisation had increased pressure on the Archives and forced it to choose between areas of work.

“It simply isn’t funded or staffed to get the job done and make the collections available,: she said.

“Damage the Archive and you damage our nation’s memory.”

Ms Vincent-Pietsch said that without funding increases the quality of the national collection would be at risk and a lack of preventative care could compromise the Archives.

“We can expect to see huge delays for the public to access the collection but more importantly, we risk one of our great cultural repositories and a rich source of our history,” she said.

Ms Vincent-Pietsch called for the records digitisation work to be brought back in-house and properly funded to guarantee quality and for the National Archives to be exempt from the Government Average Staffing Level cap in order to allocate their resources more effectively.

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