‘We risk our national memory’

The union representing public sectors workers in the National Archives, CPSU, has today supported the calls by retired High Court Judge Michael Kirby to urgently increase funding.

CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said, “We must get more funding for the National Archives, as years of cuts have eroded the Archives’ capacity to deliver its functions. The demands of digitisation have increased pressure on the Archives and forced it to choose between areas of work. It simply isn’t funded or staffed to get the job done and make the collections available. Damage the Archive and you damage our nation’s memory.

“The Average Staffing Level (ASL) cap has driven outsourcing to labour hire companies and contractors. The damage caused by Budget cuts and under-resourcing has reached a point where the impact is obvious, with users seeing the effects of diminished services.

“If the situation does not change, the quality of the collection will be at risk and a lack of preventative care could compromise our archives. We can expect to see huge delays for the public to access the collection but more importantly, we risk one of our great cultural repositories and a rich source of our history.

“As the collection grows, so should funding for its staff and the Archive’s work caring for the articles it holds. The Government must end the efficiency dividend and provide the National Archives with additional ongoing funding.

Digitisation work should be brought back in-house and funded properly to guarantee quality and accountability. The Government should also end the artificial and wasteful ASL cap to let the National Archives allocate resources more effectively to meet its needs.”

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