Monday, 31 October 2016, Canberra: Freedom of Access to Information and Resources (FAIR) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) supports former Ford Australia executives who are asking the Federal Government to prevent the export of the company's local archives, following the closure of the local manufacturing operations.
According to motoring magazine's Wheels website, the archive is still in Australia but may be exported to the Ford World headquarters in Dearborn, USA, later this year or early next.
Wheels reports the archive, which dates back to 1925, contains board meeting minutes, documents detailing local model development, letters and correspondence from Ford Australia's first managing director Hubert French, wartime correspondence, Ford publications (Ford News) employee records, repair manuals for local models, selection of local press kits, film and video footage.
According to Australian law (Protection of the Moveable Cultural Heritage Act 1986), Ford must apply for a permit to export documents/materials deemed to be of national heritage.
The final decision on whether a permit is granted is made by the Minister for Arts, Senator Mitch Fifield.
Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive of ALIA, said: 'This is an opportunity for the Federal Government to act. The Minister can decide that the archive or the materials meet the criteria of an "Australian protected object". The Minister can decide that its export would significantly diminish Australia's cultural heritage and refuse the permit application. This means that the archive could stay in Australia and also be made accessible to Australians.'
Once a collection is digitised, then Australians would be able to access the archive through Trove, state libraries and the national archive.
'We hope that these materials stay in Australia for the benefit of all and so that Australians will have all the information they need to answer that old Aussie question: "Are you Ford or Holden?".
FAIR stands for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) created FAIR to give people a way to support all kinds of libraries. FAIR lobbies for well-funded libraries, copyright law reform, the digitisation of our history, evidence-based policy making, lifelong learning and qualified library staff in schools. FAIR was created by ALIA to bring together all of its advocacy work. www.fair.alia.org.au
About the Australian Library and Information Association
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au
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