ABC Radio Canberra Breakfast
Subjects: Government response to the Tune Review into the National Archives
LISH FEJER: It’s a critical time for the National Archives, and you may remember that in March this year the Tune Review, led by former Department of Finance Secretary David Tune, was released. It considered how best to ensure the National Archives could continue performing its function in this digital age. Well today, Assistant Attorney-General Amanda Stoker is releasing the Government’s response to the Tune Review of the National Archives, and she joins me this morning.
AMANDA STOKER: Good morning Lish, how are you.
LISH FEJER: Very well thanks. So what is the Government’s response to the recommendations in this review?
AMANDA STOKER: In short, we either accept or accept in principle all of the recommendations of the Tune Review, because we’re prepared to do what’s necessary to make sure this really important institution – this holder of the nation’s history for citizens and historians alike to be able to dig through and piece together what it means to be an Australian. We want it to be world class for the long term. So by making that commitment to all 20 of the recommendations we are not just showing our commitment to the institution for the long term, but doing what we need to make sure that the information it keeps is secure in a changing threat landscape globally. We’re making sure they have the technology they need to be able to adapt to the kind of documents we now face. And we’re going to give them the legislative framework needed to be able to do that well. So I’m really optimistic about what this means for the Archives into the long term.
LISH FEJER: The big points from that Tune Review were around making sure that its digitised and secure, but what does it really mean; when will the process of addressing the recommendations start and be completed by?
AMANDA STOKER: Well much of it has already begun. The urgent matter that was raised by the Tune Review was that there were a number of documents in the collection that were facing – in effect perishing by – the ravages of time. So we have already put $67.7 million into the process of digitising those at risk records; improving the processes, in a digital sense, for working out which ones to keep and how to get them digitised efficiently; and to boost the cyber security of the institution. Those were all things that were high risk, and they’re already underway. For the other matters, it depends on the recommendation how quickly they will be done. But the first step is to build capability in the institution. And I think that can be achieved within the next 5 years. So that we can have a long term vision for the institution that really transforms its role in relation in relation to the records of government.
LISH FEJER: And that funding, the $67.7 million of funding that yourself and Attorney-General Senator Michaelia Cash announced in July, what will that be used for?
AMANDA STOKER: It’s being used for digitising at risk records, improving the processes that are necessary to make sure the various government departments are, in a sense, picking the right records to get digitised, and to boost the cyber security of those records.
LISH FEJER: So is it just people on the ground literally just scanning documents? That sort of style of grunt work?
AMANDA STOKER: It depends on the nature of the document, so that’s a -
LISH FEJER: It’s a technical question, but in terms of that funding, that $67.7 million, will it be enough to actually do that? And will you actually secure the funding for the National Archives to do that work?
AMANDA STOKER: Well the funding has already been secured. The Tune review recommended that amount of money was how much it would take to do the job. So that’s the amount of money we have provided. However he recommended that it be done over a longer period of time – he recommended it be done over a seven year period, we’ve fast tracked that over four years, because we want to make sure we can preserve as many documents as possible, and we have used the estimates necessary to make sure we can get the hole job done.
LISH FEJER: That’s great to hear, and hopefully we can get it all done in time -
AMANDA STOKER: It’s really -
LISH FEJER: That’s fund -
AMANDA STOKER: I’m sorry.
LISH FEJER: That’s alright. Time is of the essence. Assistant Attorney-General Amanda Stoker, thanks for joining me this morning.
AMANDA STOKER: Thanks, Lish.