Go to top of page

External scrutiny

Australian National Audit Office

The Australian National Audit Office did not undertake any reports on operations of the National Archives in 2020–21.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman did not undertake any investigations in relation to the National Archives in 2020–21.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The National Archives makes decisions on access to Australian Government records under the Archives Act. People who are dissatisfied with a decision can, in certain circumstances, seek a review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

In 2020–21, the AAT received 13 new appeals, and 5 were carried over from 2019–20. The National Archives attended hearings for three AAT matters during the year. The AAT has reserved its decisions in these matters whilst it considers the evidence and exempted information. A total of 18 appeals remained before the AAT as at 30 June 2021.

Federal Court of Australia

There were no cases on matters relating to the National Archives before the Federal Court of Australia in 2020–21.

High Court of Australia

There were no cases on matters relating to the National Archives before the High Court of Australia in 2020–21.

Parliamentary committees

In 2020–21, the National Archives provided submissions to the following committees and parliamentary inquiries:

  • Australia’s creative and cultural institutions–Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts – October 2020
  • Nationhood, national identity and democracy–Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs – October 2020
  • Governance in the stewardship of public resources – Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit – February 2021
  • The current capability of the Australian Public Service – Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees – April 2021.

The Director-General appeared at hearings before the Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit to support evidence provided in the National Archives’ submissions.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner made no reports concerning actions taken by, or practices of, the National Archives in 2020–21.

Legal services and expenditure

The Legal Services Directions 2017, issued by the Attorney-General under the Judiciary Act 1903, require Australian Government agencies to ensure that legal services expenditure is appropriately recorded and monitored. The National Archives’ total expenditure on external legal services for 2020–21 was $453,609.

Significant noncompliance with finance law

No significant instances of non-compliance with finance law were recorded in 2020–21 that required reporting to the responsible minister in accordance with the PGPA Act.