Records disposal freezes

Government archival authorities and records offices, nationally and internationally, on occasions apply 'freezes' to the destruction of specific public records that would usually be eligible for disposal under an approved Retention and Disposal Schedule. 

These freezes often relate to a particular topic or event that has created significant or substantial public interest and may include cases where there is extensive parliamentary debate, coverage by the media, or a pending court case.

A disposal freeze may be issued jointly by the Northern Territory Archives Service (NTAS) and Northern Territory (NT) Records Service for a particular group of public records and overrides an existing Retention and Disposal Schedule for a specified period of time.

Records to which a disposal freeze applies must not be destroyed while the freeze is in place. Destruction of these records could constitute unlawful disposal under Section 145 of the Act.

The NTAS and NT Records Service have issued the:

Read the records disposal freeze overview (50.8 kb).

Records Disposal Freeze Policy for NT Public Sector Organisations

The Records Disposal Freeze Policy for NT Public Sector Organisations (issued by the NTAS and the NT Records Service) establishes the circumstances when the destruction of public records may be temporarily suspended despite previous authorisation for disposal, as set out in a Retention and Disposal Schedule. 

The policy includes a workflow of the process involved in the implementation of a disposal freeze, and a sample disposal freeze.

Records Disposal Freeze Implementation Advice for NT Public Sector Organisations

The Records Disposal Freeze Implementation Advice for NT Public Sector Organisations provides details of the procedures for implementing a disposal freeze and includes frequently asked questions and a checklist.

Records Disposal Freeze for Records Relating to the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems in the Northern Territory

The NT Archives Service and the Records Service have issued a records disposal freeze targeting records relating to the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems in the Northern Territory. 

The issue of this disposal freeze means that any records that were created on or after 1 August 2006 which may be required for the inquiries of the Royal Commission or related legal actions or investigations must not be destroyed even if the records are due for destruction under the terms of a current and authorised records disposal schedule. 

The initial disposal freeze was issued from 1 August 2016 - 30 June 2017. The current disposal freeze has been extended until 30 June 2018.

The notification provides an outline of the types of records that may be relevant and identifies some of the disposal schedules that are likely to contain relevant classes of records. For further information regarding the freeze please see the attached Notice of Records Disposal Freeze relating to the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems in the Northern Territory (325.0 kb)

Records Disposal Freeze for Records relevant to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The NT Archives Service and the Records Service have issued a records disposal freeze targeting records relevant to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 

The issue of this disposal freeze means that any records that document contact between children and a public sector organisation should not be destroyed even if the records are due for destruction under the terms of a current and authorised records disposal schedule. 

The notification provides an outline of the types of records that may be relevant and identifies some of the disposal schedules that are likely to contain relevant classes of records.

For further information regarding the freeze please see the attached Notice of Records Disposal Freeze relating to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (113.5 kb).

This disposal freeze supersedes the notice of the proposed disposal freeze issued on 17 January 2013, Notice of Proposed Disposal Freeze relating to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Records Disposal Freeze – Commonwealth Superannuation Records

The NT Archives Service and the NT Records Service have issued a records disposal freeze to all public sector organisations, which may be in possession of Commonwealth superannuation records, on selected personnel and related superannuation records until 31 December 2030.

These records may be needed in processing claims against the Commonwealth concerning eligibility of Commonwealth employees to join Commonwealth superannuation schemes.

The decision to impose a disposal freeze for NT government records follows agreement by the NT Minister for Arts and Museums to the request by the Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Administration and the National Archives of Australia.

The initial disposal freeze was issued from 11 January 2007-15 August 2011, and extended from 15 August 2011 until 31 December 2015. The disposal freeze has been further extended until 31 December 2030.

For further information regarding the freeze please see the attached Notice of Records Disposal Freeze for Records Relating to the Eligibility of Commonwealth Employees to Join Commonwealth Superannuation Schemes (4.0 mb) (4.0 mb).

Contact

For more information about records disposal freezes, please contact the NTAS or the NT Records Service:

NT Records Service
Department of Corporate and Information Services

GPO Box 2391
Darwin NT 0801
NTG.recordspolicy@nt.gov.au
Phone: (08) 8924 3847

Last updated: 11 October 2017