New bodies to oversee NSW historical archives

The NSW government has created two new agencies which it says will strengthen custodianship of and access to the state’s historic collections.

Adam Lindsay

Legislation for the establishment of NSW Museums of History, which will see a merger between Sydney Living Museums and the State Archives and Records Authority (SARA), passed parliament last week.

“(The legislation) will see the NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums brought together to create a flagship body, Museums of History NSW, to serve the people of NSW and beyond,” arts minister Ben Franklin said.

Museums of History NSW will be led by a CEO appointed by the minister,and guided by a board of 11 members responsible for strategic direction.

The members of the board will be recommended by the minister, with at least one person having experience in history, one in heritage and one in First Nations cultures.

The Act also provides for the creation of State Records NSW as a separate and dedicated agency for recordkeeping standards, regulation, advice, education and policy, with new monitoring powers to ensure good record keeping practice.

Staff resources and budget will be transferred across from SARA, and a new board will be appointed.

 “Good recordkeeping is the foundation of good government,” the minister 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.”

Adam Lindsay, who was appointed CEO of NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums in February to support their merger, said the move would ensure the ongoing preservation of, and access to the state’s history for generations.

The $1.4 billion state records archive holds what is arguably the world’s leading collection of documents about colonial power, parliament heard during a second reading of the legislation earlier this year.

The Museums of History Act 2022 and the State Records Act legislation will be effective from 31 December 2022.

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