Where required, the Australian Archives Act 1983 gives permission for the destruction or other disposal of Commonwealth records by issuing records disposal authorities. The Archives also uses disposal authorities to identify classes of records that have been appraised as requiring retention as national archives, or to modify or withdraw its permission for disposal.
The requirements to retain records are based on business needs, broader organisational accountability and community expectations.
Records disposal authorities take into consideration the interest of all stakeholders including the agency and its administrative needs in discharging its functional responsibilities, as well the stakeholders’ interests in the selection and preservation of records as archives.
Records disposal authorities may be issued to a particular agency or agencies, or may be of general application within the Commonwealth.
Records disposal authorities may to be used to sentence records. Sentencing involves the examination of records in order to identify the individual disposal class to which they belong. This process enables the sentencing officer to determine the appropriate disposal action for the records.