3 January 2022

$47.6 million in Federal Government funding to help national institutions preserve at-risk collections

| Ian Bushnell
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Exterior of National Film and Sound Archive of Australia building

Thanks to $41.9 million in Federal Government funding, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia will be able to digitise and preserve around 240,000 known at-risk audiovisual collection items. Photo: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) will receive $41.9 million in Federal Government funding over four years for a major program to digitise and store at-risk audiovisual collection material held across the eight National Collecting Institutions.

The National Library of Australia (NLA) will also receive $5.7 million over two years to support and enhance the continuing operation of its popular 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.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this funding will allow the NFSA to digitise and preserve around 240,000 known at-risk audiovisual collection items.

“As Australia’s audiovisual 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,” he said.

“This funding will protect important elements of Australia’s audiovisual 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.”

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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 six billion items of Australian and online resources from the NLA’s own digital collections, and of the many hundreds of partnering organisations,” he 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, media, industry, technology, education and more, and is used by businesses and individuals across the country.”

Liberal ACT Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja, said Canberra’s national institutions play an important role in the Canberra economy, attracting millions of visitors a year and providing a boost to its tourism and hospitality sectors.

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