Are records open to the public once transferred to PROV?
All records transferred to the custody of Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) are on open access to the public unless they are specifically closed under a section of the Public Records Act 1973. There must be a justifiable reason to restrict or close access to records.
Acknowledgement that records are to be open access is provided by the head (or their delegate) of the Victorian government agency responsible for the records.
Access arrangements are negotiated between the agency responsible for the records and PROV. The access status should be assessed and agreed to as soon as possible in the transfer process as it may determine how the records are processed.
When are records closed to public access?
Closure of records is a formal process that requires Ministerial approval. Records may be closed under the following sections of the Public Records Act 1973:
Section 9 Closure
This section allows for the closure of ‘personal or private’ records to prevent the violation of personal privacy. It covers such material as personnel records, medical records, police and prison records and case records concerning students, welfare recipients, children in government care or compensation claimants.
See PROS 11/10 FS1 Closure of Public Records Under Sec 9 Fact Sheet for further information.
Section 10(1) Closure
The reasons for closing records under section 10 (1) are not specified in the Public Records Act 1973. However, it is customary for categories of exemption under the Freedom of Information Act to be used when determining whether records should be closed under section 10 (1).
See PROS 11/10 FS2 Closure of Public Records Under Sec 10 Fact Sheet for further information.
Section 10AA Closure
This section applies to records that may be used in the planning and commission of terrorist acts designed to damage the community and its infrastructure. In general, records closed under section 10AA will be those considered to be highly prone to misuse and where the effect of misuse would be significant in the manner specified in the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003.
See PROS 11/10 FS3 Closure of Public Records Under Sec 10AA Fact Sheet for further information.