NSW first to expose its archives

By Paul Hemsley

The New South Wales government’s custodian of state records has become the first state archives agency in Australia to create a digital online portal containing accessible reports and statistics based on the ‘Open Government’ principle.

Known as “OpenGov NSW”, the new NSW State Records website acts as a searchable online database of government reports published by NSW agencies that fall under the state’s Government Information (Public Access) Act of 2009.

The new website’s rollout is part of a broader government push to create a transparent culture in the public sector by making information more freely available for use by the community and businesses rather than defaulting to the position of locking it up.

In July 2010, then Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner made a declaration of Open Government following a central recommendation from a Government 2.0 Taskforce report.

Mr Tanner’s declaration ordered agencies to reduce barriers to online engagement.

According to NSW State Records, the OpenGov NSW site will provide a simple and easily accessible path for the public seeking information about government services, commitments and programs.

NSW State Records has invited agencies to submit their published reports to be entered into the site for people to access. The agency claims this will mean public offices will have less content on their own websites to worry about over time.

The information contained in the site will be both contemporary and historical.

NSW State Records project manager, director of archives Cassie Findlay said even though OpenGov NSW is now live, a formal launch of the site by the NSW government has yet to occur.

Ms Findlay told Government News that OpenGov NSW is the first website of its kind to be launched by an archival agency.

The most recent report available on the site is a NSW Trade and Investment Annual Report from the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services published in October 2012.

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