Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
National film and sound archive

Download PDFDownload PDF



The Government will establish a new National Film and Sound

Archive, the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, Mr

Barry Cohen, announced today.

The Archive will preserve moving images and recorded sound

as part of Australia's 20th century cultural heritage.

The Archive, based on the existing film and sound archives

presently located in the National Library of Australia,

will develop presentational material such as literature

and artefacts relating to the history of Australian film

and recorded sound. It will contain facilities to encourage

public and industry access to the collections, and for

screening old films for public viewing.

The National Film and Sound Archive will be made

administratively independent of the National Library

immediately, and will initially be an Office within the

Department of Home Affairs and Environment reporting to

that Minister. Its staff and finance will be separated

from the National Library immediately and its accommodation

as soon as possible.


The position of Director will be established and advertised


A National Film and Sound Archives Advisory Committee will be

appointed to develop planning for the future development of

the Archive. It will advise the Government on a range of

matters including accommodation, staffing, regional

representation, appropriate charges for services, preservation

program and timetable, relations with the industry and trade,

and deposit requirements. The Advisory Committee will be

asked to report within twelve months of its appointment.

The Government has also decided to provide increased resources

in the form of staff, funds and equipment to develop the

film and sound archives. The increased resources should

permit preservation of more nitrate film and the handling

of newer technical conservation problems.

The new National Film and Sound Archive will be more

accessible to the public and the film industry. Offices

will be opened in New South Wales and Victoria and the Advisory

Committee will examine the desirability of opening offices

in other States.

The National Library's management of its holdings of film

and sound recordings has been criticised but I think this

criticism is unfair. It must be remembered that the Library

took the initiative to preserve this vital inheritance.

The Library, as a whole, was restrained by its allocation


of resources from the previous Government, but its film

and sound sections have received at least a fair share of

those limited resources and some, apparently unrecognised,

success has been achieved in building up the collections

and establishing a working relationship with the industry.

Nevertheless, the Government has decided that there is a

need for a separate institution with a charter of its own

and guidelines established by the Government after consultation

with all the interests concerned.

In addition, an Interdepartmental Committee will inquire

into and advise on policy generally concerning all the

Commonwealth's holdings of film, sound recordings and related

issues. Policy advice will include matters such as the

co-ordination and rationalisation of all Commonwealth

activities in this area - acquisition of material, cataloguing,

conservation, reproduction, access arrangements, and

co-ordination with relevant State and private sector interest.

There are many complex issues involved in consideration

of how other Commonwealth holdings of film and sound recordings

will relate to the National Film and Sound Archive. In

view of these issues, and the need for consultation, the

Government will consider the requirements further after

receiving the reports.

Canberra 5 April

|\lo. 40 of 1984