National Archives confirms 10 jobs to go, admits to 'decline' in access to records
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National Archives confirms 10 jobs to go, admits to 'decline' in access to records

A "downsizing" at the National Archives of Australia has left it less able to give access to records, its boss David Fricker says.

The agency that describes itself as Australia's memory will lose another 10 staff this year after staffing cuts in 2017-18, he confirmed at a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

It comes as the archives faces more applications from researchers to access records.

Director-general of the National Archives, David Fricker.

Director-general of the National Archives, David Fricker.

Photo: Colleen Petch

Budget papers this month showed the institution's staffing would drop to 355 this year, compared to 429 reported in the 2013-14 budget.

"In a general sense the downsizing of the organisation is a fact," Mr Fricker, the archives' director-general, said.

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Staffing cuts in 2018-19 would impact all parts of the archives, he said.

"Of course reductions in staff will have an effect on our capacity to provide services across the board," he said.

"There's been a decline in our capacity to provide access to records and also a decline in our capacity to transfer records in."

Mr Fricker told Senate estimates the archives would try reducing a backlog of applications by using improved IT to grow productivity, and working with other agencies.

The National Archives earlier this year admitted it would cut 40 jobs within two years as the institution looked for savings amid budgetary pressures.

While it could meet its goal to reduce its staff numbers to 320 by 2019-20 through natural attrition of departing employees, it has admitted it could turn to voluntary redundancies to reach the target.

The national institution - which houses government records and promotes good records management by Australian Public Service agencies - is facing budget cuts through a series of efficiency dividends and savings measures.

Doug Dingwall

Doug Dingwall is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service and politics.

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