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Archives Act 1983

ASIO is an exempt agency under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 but is subject to the release of records under the Archives Act 1983, which allows public access to Commonwealth records in the ‘open period’. In accordance with changes to the Archives Act in 2010, the open period is transitioning from 30 to 20 years, and currently covers all Commonwealth records created before 2000. ASIO works closely with the National Archives of Australia to facilitate access to ASIO records, while balancing various and sometimes competing priorities.

In 2019–20, ASIO received 334 applications for access to ASIO records and completed a total of 399 requests, equating to 72 820 pages. A total of 59 per cent of requests were completed within the 90-day legislative time frame. The small reduction in requests completed in the reporting period is due to the complexity of assessments, and an increase in the completion of longstanding cases, in addition to new requests. Further, the way we conduct some of our routine assessments was affected by COVID-19 restrictions; COVID-19 also had an impact on our resourcing during the latter half of the reporting period.