When one of Australia’s most experienced public servants, David Tune, conducted an extensive review of the National Archives’ funding requirements he stressed that a piecemeal approach to saving the nation’s records would never be enough.
Structural reform was essential. That is important to keep in mind, because while the federal government’s recently announced provision of $67.7 million to preserve the most at-risk items of Australia’s history is certainly welcome, much more is needed.
In the months since the Herald revealed many precious items in the Archives’ collection were in danger of disintegrating due to a lack of funding and resources, historians have expressed outrage, dismay and frustration.
After the National Archives garnered only $700,000 extra in the May budget, tens of thousands of dollars were donated by the community. The suggestion by the Minister assisting the Attorney-General Amanda Stoker the government had “nothing to be embarrassed about” was tone-deaf.
The Morrison government received the Tune review in January 2020, but it did not release the report publicly until March this year. While the government has not yet published its response, it has been under considerable public pressure to fund the most obviously urgent aspect of Mr Tune’s recommendations.
You can read more in an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald at https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/national-archives-funding-welcomed-but-more-needed-20210704-p586r7.html.