Restricted access decisions

Register of State Records Commission directions on restricted access records in the State archives collection

As a result of reviews of restricted access records in the State archives collection since 2005/2006, the State Records Commission (SRC) has approved access time periods for various classes of State archives with restricted access status. The following register lists these classes/types of records and their restricted access time periods, giving the reason for their restriction along with cited precedents in some cases.   

Type/Class of Records

SRC approved restricted access time period

Reason/precedent for restricted access time period

Patient name and medical condition/disability identifying data

100 years

S. 49 of State Records Act 2000

Individual patient health information

100 years 

S. 49 of State Records Act 2000

Royal Commission or Inquiry evidence containing medical condition/disability information about individuals100 years

S. 49 of State Records Act 2000

Personal/Personnel/ Human Resource Files

100 years from date of birth

State Records NSW precedent accepted on submitted applications from several agencies

Archives with sensitive Aboriginal cultural information

Access time period to be discussed with relevant Aboriginal communities

State archives containing Aboriginal cultural material or sensitive information, identified under s. 76 of the State Records Act, are be regarded as exceptionally sensitive records and can be restricted in accordance with s. 48 of the State Records Act. 

Archives with Exceptionally Sensitive Information

Exceptionally sensitive records are restricted for 100 years

Sensitive and name identifying information about the adoption, fostering and non-parental custody of children are restricted for 100 years. Exceptionally sensitive information about the abuse of children is restricted for 100 years. Exceptionally sensitive archives are reviewed every 5 years.

“Welfare” related files with Confidential and Personal information. 

75 years

Records containing Confidential and Personal Information may be restricted up to 75 years according to s.47 of the State Records Act 2000.

Bankruptcy files

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Civil case files

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Correspondence with confidential and personal legal issues

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC. This restriction access period also used as basis for Legal Aid material and any Legal Professional Privilege information in the collection. 

Criminal case files 

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Divorce files

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Department of Premier and Cabinet records containing Aboriginal culturally sensitive information.

75 years

Records containing confidential and personal Information may be restricted up to 75 years according to s.47 of the State Records Act.

Probate and Letter of Administration files

75 years

Contains confidential and personal information. Supreme Court restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Probate Duty files

75 years

Contains confidential and personal financial information. Supreme Court and State Taxation restricted access time period confirmed by SRC.

Records containing evidence or copies of evidence presented at the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government & Other Matters (“WA Inc”). 

75 years

Records containing evidence or copies of evidence presented at the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government & Other Matters (“WA Inc”) are restricted for 75 years through the Act which created this Royal Commission. 

Records containing the financial details, transactions and other detailed financial information about individuals.

75 years

Confidential and personal account details containing the financial  details, transactions and other detailed financial information about individuals.

Registers and indexes containing Confidential & Personal “welfare” related information.

75 years

Certain identified Registers and Indexes containing confidential and personal information are restricted for 75 years in line with s.47 of the State Records Act 2000.

Royal Commission evidence with personal and confidential information. 

75 years

Personal and confidential or medical matters about individuals in Royal Commission evidence and transcripts are restricted for 75 years.

Prison Registers

70 years

Department of Corrective Services legislation relating to prisoners in its custody requires authorization from the Department before personal information can be released. In practice, access to this information is restricted for 70 years.

Prisoner name identifying information

70 years

Department of Corrective Services legislation relating to prisoners in its custody requires authorization from the Department before personal information can be released. In practice, access to this information is restricted for 70 years.

Children’s Court Account, Charge and Evidence Books

50 years

Section 33 of Magistrates Court Act 2004 requires Court authorization of release of offender and victim personal information. Dept of Attorney General advised 50 year restricted access period.

Children’s Court Indexes

50 years

50 year restricted access period accepted by SRC for Children’s Court Indexes.

District and Magistrate Court Charge Books/Lists/Sheets

50 years

Section 33 of Magistrates Court Act 2004 requires Court authorization of release of offender and victim personal information. Dept of Attorney General advised 50 year restricted access period.

District/Magistrates Court Evidence Books

50 years

Section 33 of Magistrates Court Act 2004 requires Court authorization of release of offender and victim personal information. Dept of Attorney General advised 50 year restricted access period.

Major crime files

75 years

WA Police major crime files are restricted for 75 years due to the sensitive, confidential and personal information contained in them about the victims of crime.

Offender records

50 years

Police records with confidential and personal information restricted for 50 years as these contain offender and sensitive personal information.

Police investigation records

50 years

Police records with confidential and personal information restricted for 50 years as these contain offender and sensitive personal information.

Police Occurrence books

50 years

Police records with confidential and personal information restricted for 50 years as these contain offender and sensitive personal information.

Police Registers/Journals

50 years

Police records with confidential and personal information restricted for 50 years as these contain offender and sensitive personal information.

Native Welfare Station Files

50 years

Contain personal and confidential information.

Cabinet/Executive Council Minutes

30 years

Premiers Circulars 2003/09 and 2003/14 and Cabinet Decision dated 27 October 1986, relating to Cabinet records, including submission, minutes, agenda and decisions.

Files containing Cabinet & Ministerial information

30 years

Premiers Circulars 2003/09 and 2003/14 and Cabinet Decision dated 27 October 1986, relating to Cabinet records, including submission, minutes, agenda and decisions.

Commercially confidential information about State Enterprises

25 years

Commercial in confidence information the disclosure of which would disadvantage the commercial operations of State Enterprises. Identified records contain contracts between State and major project developers establishing a framework of rights and obligations facilitating the development of resources and/or downstream processing projects in WA.

Commercially confidential tender information

25 years

Commercial in confidence information the disclosure of which would disadvantage the commercial and tender operations of State government agencies. restricting commercially sensitive tender documentation.

Commonwealth/State information transmitted in confidence

25 years

Restricted to protect national and State security

Confidential information about Agricultural Experiments.

25 years

Department of Agriculture information restricted and application to  SRC.

Coroners reports – police station records

25 years

Police Station records with coroners reports restricted for 25 years in line with the WA Police Records Retention and Disposal (R&D)schedule.

District Court Indexes/Registers

25 years

Confidential and personal information

Commercial in confidence information, exchanged in confidence between government agencies and their business partners.

25 years

Commercial in confidence information includes information about performance specifications or any aspects of pricing, quotation, tender, bid, or any other commercial or proprietary information. 

Files/Appeals containing confidential commercial information about individuals or commercial organisations.

25 years

Commercial and financial information which if disclosed would disadvantage the interests of the individual or commercial organization. These records also reveal personal information.

Financial Grants (Arts, etc.) to individuals with supporting confidential account information 

25 years

Includes Peer Assessment Panel Records and Department of Culture and Arts grants to individuals.

Legal Aid Minutes/ Agenda papers/ general files

25 years

Confidential operations of the Legal Aid Commission.

Liquor Licensing records

25 years

Police licensing records restricted for 25 years in line with WA Police Records R&D schedule.

Ministers’ records – non Cabinet information 

25 years

Ministers’ records (non-Cabinet) containing ministerial information and correspondence to be restricted for 25 years. Ministers’ records containing confidential information about the personal affairs of a person are restricted for 25 years.

Police General Admin/Correspondence Files

25 years

Police general and operational records restricted for 25 years in line with R&D schedule.

Police Ledgers/plans

25 years

Police general and operational records restricted for 25 years in line with R&D schedule.

Police message books

25 years

Police general and operational records restricted for 25 years in line with WA Police R&D schedule.

Police Records relating to licences (gun/other)

25 years

Police licensing records restricted for 25 years in line with WA Police R&D schedule.

School Punishment Books

25 years

Confidential and personal  information about punishments administered school children

WA Industrial Relations Commission Legal files – Private Compulsory Conferences 

25 years

S. 44 (5) of the WA Industrial Relations Act, dealing with compulsory conferences, states they should be held in private and are restricted access.

Minutes of Boards/Commissions with confidential client information

25 years 

Contains confidential client information

Plans, drawings and specifications for government owned buildings, including public rental housing

25 years

Regulation 12 of the Building Regulations allows for authorised inspection of building plans by owners only.

Dep’t of Environment Infringements/Breaches of Acts resulting in change of policy or procedure 

25 years

Contains confidential client information

Biodiversity Conservation Inventories – Fauna, Flora, Threatened Ecological communities

25 years

Disclosure prejudicial to protection of WA’s unique environmental assets

Registration Board records containing Board prosecutions and disciplinary actions

25 years 

Registration Board Prosecutions previously restricted for 25 years in SRC approved Schedules. Registration Boards Disciplinary action records contain very similar information to prosecution records.  

School Enrolment Register (Register of Admissions / Enrolment Cards)

18 years after date of birth of student

Protecting the privacy of students who may be still attending school.

Information about Gifts and Donors requesting anonymity

15 years

Art Gallery of WA practice reflected in R&D Schedule.

Minutes of Boards/Commissions - general

5 years

The minutes of Boards and Commission that do not contain personal or confidential information can be restricted for up to 5 years