Last updated:

March 28, 2018

Are records open to the public once transferred to PROV?

All records transferred to the custody close custody Definition Responsibility for the care of records and archives, usually based on their physical possession. Custody does not necessarily include legal ownership.   of Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) are on open access close access Definition Refers either to the process of providing records for researchers to use in PROV reading rooms, or to the process of determining if records should or should not be withheld from researchers for a period of time. 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 close open access Definition Unrestricted access to records that are open for inspection by the public. is provided by the head (or their delegate) of the Victorian government agency close agency Definition Any department, agency or office of the Government of Victoria responsible for the records.


Access arrangements are negotiated between the agency responsible for the records and PROV. The access status close status Definition The ‘Status’ display column on the user’s list of current orders describes what state the order is in.  should be assessed close assessed Definition The document or service has been examined to determine if any changes are required. 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 close Freedom of Information Definition Records transferred to PROV and closed under sections 9 or 10 of the Public Records Act may still be available for public inspection under section 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Requests under Freedom of Information legislation should be referred to the government agency currently responsible for the records. 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.