WA secretary defends State Records merger but archivists unconvinced

The WA government is being accused of taking the state back to the bad old days of corruption known as WA Inc. Archivists fear for the record-keeping standards that underpin accountability, but the legislative guarantee of an independent records authority remains in place.

New administrative arrangements threaten to “marginalise” the Western Australian State Records Office and weaken the record-keeping practices that underpin good governance and accountability, according to the Australian Society of Archivists.

The ASA is very concerned that the machinery-of-government change, which took effect on July 1, places the SRO in a subordinate position to the State Library of Western Australia that threatens its functional independence and weakens its ability to encourage high standards of record-keeping in government.

The society sounded the alarm on July 3 and followed up the next day with a statement announcing it had protested the new arrangements, which make the SRO a directorate within the State Library of Western Australia. An online petition against the changes had attracted about 200 supporters at the time of writing.

The SRO is the public service agency that supports the State Records Commission, a panel that includes the WA auditor-general, the information commissioner and the parliamentary commissioner for administrative investigations (AKA the ombudsman).

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