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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1878 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

I will touch on this issue of the advisory council again. I do not want to appear to harp on it. I do not want to be accused of being tedious, or even repetitious, by the Deputy Speaker, but this council, which is part of the legislation being debated today, is being established to advise on developing and reviewing standards for agency records management, on the disposal of agency records, and on the preservation of agency records about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

The council will have members from government agencies, professional organisations interested in records management and archives, community associations interested in historical or heritage issues, and groups interested in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. I cannot conceive of a circumstance where such an advisory council would be unacceptable to the community or to this Assembly, because it aims to engage relevant people in the community in the protection of our community records well into the future.

While the primary reason for the creation of records is the efficient conduct of the government's business, the longer term retention of and access to those records of enduring value is just as important. Future researchers will have access to the records that tell the story of both our government and our community.

This legislation is long overdue, I think we all agree on that. The eventual framework will be resolved by this Assembly. I want to congratulate Mr Wood, in particular, for making sure that this piece of legislation found its way into the Assembly at such an early stage of this government's term. I trust that members will give their support to the passing of this legislation.

As I said before, this legislation not only deals with our past and present, but it is also our future. I would urge members to support this important piece of legislation and, in particular, those aspects of it that will build confidence in the community about the future of our records in the ACT, and that will engage the community in contributing to the legislation and the future of governance in the territory.

MS TUCKER (5.39): For those people with an interest in history, government archives are a rich source of information on how society functioned in the past. The federal government has a comprehensive system of rules for the keeping of government records and a very active Australian archive, which is valued highly by the public.

Unfortunately, up until now, there has been no equivalent ACT archival system. Now that we are into our thirteenth year of self-government, I only wonder why this has not been done before. It seems that we had to have the Bruce Stadium and hospital implosion fiascos to convince the previous Liberal government that action was needed to set up a good record-keeping system within the ACT public service.

The bill before us today is basically the same as the bill tabled by the Liberals in the last days of the previous Assembly, and I am also glad that the Labor government has moved quickly to finish off this legislation. This bill establishes a framework for the management of records kept by ACT government agencies. Each agency will be required to develop and maintain a records management system. A new position of Director of

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