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Asset management, purchasing and grants

Asset management

The National Archives manages diverse and complex assets, including:

  • the national archival collection
  • intangible assets, such as digital copies of collection items
  • fit-out of office, storage, preservation and exhibition spaces
  • building plant supporting critical infrastructure, such as low-temperature storage vaults
  • preservation equipment
  • high-quality digital imaging equipment and cameras
  • exhibition infrastructure
  • information technology infrastructure supporting corporate and archival systems.

The National Archives’ asset acquisitions and replacements are managed through the five-year Capital Asset Plan. The Executive Board provides governance in relation to capital expenditure based on the plan.

Asset management policy

The National Archives applies best-practice asset management principles to its facilities and associated assets. It continues to progressively review and refine its asset management policies and practices.

Heritage assets

The heritage and cultural assets held by the National Archives form the national archival collection. This irreplaceable collection is valued at more than $1.5 billion.

The National Archives is responsible for caring for the most significant records of the Australian Government. Most of those records are created, received or held by government agencies. The national archival collection consists of tens of millions of items and includes records about immigration, military service, transport, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, science and the environment, and much more.

Curatorial and preservation policies for heritage and cultural assets can be accessed via the National Archives’ website.

Capital works

The National Archives progressed significant capital works projects during 2019–20 to accommodate current and future operational needs.

The works included:

  • the completion of the refurbishment of the Mitchell storage facility in the ACT to provide 75 kilometres of storage and shelving capacity
  • the completion of the significant refurbishment of the ground floor exhibition and public-facing facilities at the National Office in Canberra.

A number of smaller capital works projects were also undertaken at the Chester Hill, NSW, facility as part of minor upgrades. They were:

  • the procurement of two ‘Walkie Stacker’ forklifts and the disposal of two units that had reached the end of their service life
  • the replacement of several very early smoke detection apparatus units that had reached the end of their service life
  • the completion of the design documentation and procurement process for a building contractor to undertake the refurbishment of the audiovisual preservation laboratory and digitisation studios
  • the commencement of the replacement of several dehumidifier units that had reached the end of their service life
  • the commencement of the procurement process for the replacement of the rotor in the dehumidifier servicing the Working Film Vault.



The National Archives’ approach to the procurement of goods and services, including consultancies, is consistent with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. The rules are applied to procurement activities through accountable authority instructions and supporting guidelines and templates.

In 2019–20, the National Archives sourced goods and services through mandated Australian Government panels and cooperative procurement arrangements, such as panels established by Australian Government agencies deemed appropriate to meet the National Archives’ requirements. Open approaches to market included procurements of:

  • emergency management, training and documentation services
  • outsourced digitisation services for audiovisual records
  • outsourced digitisation services for paper and printed materials
  • exhibition freight services.

Procurement initiatives to support small business

The National Archives supports small business participation in the Australian Government procurement market by:

  • using the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements
  • communicating clearly in accessible formats
  • using electronic payment systems to expedite payments.

The National Archives recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury website at treasury.gov.au.

Small and medium-sized enterprise and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website at finance.gov.au.


During 2019–20, the National Archives entered into seven new consultancy contracts involving total actual expenditure of $430,355 (including GST). In addition, nine ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $437,414 (including GST).

Typical reasons for engaging consultancy services included a requirement for specialist or professional skills, independent research and/or assessment. Consultants were engaged in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, and selection processes may have involved an open tender, including the use of an existing Australian Government panel arrangement, or limited tender.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website at tenders.gov.au.


Australian National Audit Office access clauses

No contracts of $100,000 or more (including GST) were let during 2019–20 that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Exempt contracts

During 2019–20, the National Archives had no exempt contracts.

Advertising and market research

During 2019–20, the National Archives conducted the media advertising listed in Table 10.

Table 10 I Advertising amounts of $14,000 or more paid, including GST, 2019–20



Cost ($)

CINEads Australia Pty Ltd

Advertising for exhibitions


GoTransit Media Group Pty Ltd

Advertising for exhibitions


News Pty Ltd

Advertising for exhibitions and events


Schwartz Media

Advertising for exhibitions and events


Universal McCann

Advertising for exhibitions and events




Grant programs

Information on grants awarded by the National Archives during 2019–20 is available at naa.gov.au.