3 December 2021

Preserving Australia's at-risk collections with $47 million


Joint media release with

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory

The Morrison Government is investing more than $47 million to digitise and preserve collection material held by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), and seven other National Collecting Institutions, and to maintain the National Library of Australia’s (NLA) Trove website.

The NFSA will receive $41.9 million over four years to fund a major program to digitise and store at‑risk audio‑visual collection material held across the eight National Collecting Institutions.

Over two years, $5.7 million will support and enhance the continuing operation of the NLA’s Trove website, which offers digital access to millions of newspapers and other works from the NLA’s collection and the collections of hundreds of partnering organisations nationally.

The Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said this funding will allow the NFSA to digitise and preserve around 240,000 known at‑risk audio‑visual collection items held by these institutions.

“As Australia’s audio‑visual archive, the NFSA has more than three million items in its collection, including a significant number of film, video and sound recordings in analogue formats,” the Treasurer said.

“This funding will protect important elements of Australia’s audio‑visual history from being permanently lost due to material deterioration.”

“This is critical to preserving our identity and heritage, increasing the public’s access and ensuring the archives are available to future generations.”

The material to be preserved includes items such as the Australian War Memorial’s peacekeeping collection, the NFSA home movie collection depicting Australian life throughout the 20th Century, the personal recordings and film of Sir Robert Menzies held by the NLA, and important cultural material held by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the funding of $5.7 million to the NLA will further support Trove operations to 30 June 2023, and allow for technical enhancements to be made to ensure the security and reliability of the website.

“Trove provides online access to more than 6 billion items of Australian and online resources from the NLA’s own digital collections and of the many hundreds of partnering organisations,” Minister Fletcher said.

“Since its launch in 2009, Trove has become one of the most popular and comprehensive cultural websites in Australia, receiving approximately 30 million visits each year. With digitised collections, Trove provides easy access to important cultural material from a digital first, always accessible online database.”

“Additionally, Trove provides access to much of the nation’s extensive collection of historically important documents, including the Australian Web Archive which captures more than 20 years of archived webpages from Government, the media, industry and technology, education and more, and is used by businesses and individuals across the country.”

Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja, said today’s announcement builds on a significant track record of the Liberal‑National Government investing in Canberra.

“Our national institutions play an important role in the Canberra economy, traditionally attracting millions of visitors a year providing a boost to our tourism and hospitality sectors, and I’m proud the Morrison Government is continuing to deliver for Canberra,” Senator Seselja said.

“Whether delivering critical roads upgrades and infrastructure projects, or investing in the future of our national institutions, since 2018 the Liberal‑National Government has delivered over $1.7 billion in infrastructure investment in Canberra, providing a much‑needed injection to the Canberra economy, and supporting local jobs.”