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Public Records Act 2002 – 3 May 2013

Public Records Regulation 2o14 – 2 December 2016

Quick to view summary

A public authority must make and keep full and accurate records of its activities; and have regard to any relevant policy, standards and guidelines made by the State Archivist about the making and keeping of public records. For the definition of ‘public record’, refer to section 6 of the Act. For the definition of ‘public authority’, refer to the Schedule 2 dictionary.

  • Sections 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 52, Schedule 2; Regulation 2, Schedule 1

If a public record is a record of the State or a State instrumentality, ownership of the record vests in the State.

  • Section 9

A person must not damage a public record more than 30 years old, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.

  • Section 12

A person must not dispose of a public record unless the record is disposed of under: an authority given by the State Archivist; or other legal authority, justification or excuse.

  • Sections 4, 13, 26, 27, Schedule 2

A person may apply to the State Archivist for access to a public record in the custody of the archives. If the restricted access period for a public record has ended, the archivist must allow the applicant access to the record. If the restricted access period has not ended, the applicant may have access to the public record only if: (a) access is given under the Information Privacy Act 2009 or Right to Information Act 2009; or (b) the responsible public authority gives the archivist a written notice stating: (i) the public authority has classified the record as a record to which unrestricted access is allowed; or (ii) access to the record may be given on conditions stated in the notice. Note: Public records are generally deposited with the State Archivist when they have been around for more than 25 years. For the definitions of ‘responsible public authority’ and ‘restricted access period’, refer to sections 15 and 16 of the Act. It is important to note that if access is given by way of copy or transcript, the archivist may impose a reasonable charge for the copy or transcript.

  • Sections 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 51; Regulation 3

There is to be a State Archivist who is to control the archives. The Archivist has power to acquire records by purchase, gift, bequest or loan.

  • Sections 21, 23, 24, 25, 50
Reason for law

To ensure the public records of Queensland are made, managed, kept and, if appropriate, preserved in a useable form for the benefit of present and future generations. (Section 3)

Relevant links

Queensland State Archives

Archives Search – Basic Search

Image Queensland – Basic Search

Family History Research

New to the archives


Publications (including Forms)

Queensland Women’s Historical Association

GAIN Australia (Government Agencies Information Network) Forums


Section 52 makes reference to the term ‘Sovereign’. This term may be replaced with a modern alternative.



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PLEASE NOTE: The information published on this webpage may be out-of-date. Please compare the currency date of the Act/Regulation against that published on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. If you require access to Commonwealth statute law, please visit the ComLaw website. If you require access to the local council laws (by-laws), please visit the Local laws database.

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