Classification, access, handling and destruction of Cabinet material

Classification and protective marking

On 1 December 2019, the South Australian Information Classification System (ICS) came into effect, reflecting broader changes to information security under the new South Australian Protective Security Framework (SAPSF). As a result, the information classification and protective marking processes for Cabinet material have changed in accordance with SAPSF policy.

Information Security: Protecting your agency’s information (PDF, 477.0 KB)

Under the new ICS, the previous protective marking Sensitive: SA Cabinet has been replaced by the caveat SA CABINET. The caveat must be used for any material that is prepared for the purpose of informing the South Australian Cabinet or reveals the decision and/or deliberations of the South Australian Cabinet. The caveat must be used in addition to the appropriate classification markings.

Determining the appropriate classification of information is dependent on the potential consequences (business impact) were the information to be compromised. Business impacts can be financial, legal, operational or reputational and impact an individual, group, organisation or the government itself. Examples of the impact of damage are highlighted in the table below or refer to the SAPFS Business Impact Level Tool.

Business Impact Level Tool (PDF, 202.9 KB)

Most Cabinet items will be classified ‘OFFICIAL: Sensitive’ however a small number of items may require the higher ‘PROTECTED’ classification. Use the Information Classification Tool to assist determine the appropriate classification for your item.

Information Classification Tool (PDF, 163.4 KB)

Cabinet templates available at our Resources and publications page are pre-populated with the minimum classification for Cabinet material OFFICIAL: Sensitive//SA CABINET. If you determine a higher security classification (e.g. PROTECTED or higher) is warranted you must contact the Director, Cabinet Advice to discuss the process to submit your item.

Cabinet office contact list (SA Government Office 365 access only)

Use OFFICIAL: Sensitive//SA Cabinet if compromise of the information could result in limited damage:Use PROTECTED//SA Cabinet if compromise of the information could result in damage that could:
  • Impede the development or operation of policies.
  • Reveal deliberations or decisions of Cabinet, or matters submitted, or proposed to be submitted, to Cabinet.
  • Undermine the financial viability of one or more individuals, minor South Australian-based or owned organisations or companies.
  • Disadvantage a major South Australian organisation or company.
  • Impede the development or operation of major policies.
  • Undermine the financial viability of a major South Australian-based or owned organisation or company.
  • Disadvantage a number of major South Australian organisations or companies.
  • Have a short-term material impact on state or national finances or economy.

For example:

OFFICIAL: Sensitive//SA CABINET

For example:

PROTECTED//SA CABINET

The SAPSF specifies that the protective markings should be:

a.      capitalised, in a large, plain text font, in a distinctive colour (red preferred)
b.      centred and placed at the top and bottom of each page  
c.      separated by a double forward slash (//) to help to clearly differentiate each marking/caveat.

It is important to note that the ‘Locked’ functionality within Shrike is not the same as a higher security classification (e.g. PROTECTED). Where an item is highly sensitive, it may be locked at the request of the submitting minister or instigated by Cabinet Office. Items are usually locked to protect commercial-in-confidence or personal information. This means that circulation for comment is restricted and the item is not named on the Cabinet agenda and decisions. A locked item is only visible to Cabinet Office and ministers’ offices.

Cabinet papers that are classified OFFICIAL: Sensitive// SA CABINET do not need to be password protected.

Use, storage and destruction of Cabinet material

Cabinet papers, in both final and draft form, must be used, stored and destroyed in accordance with the minimum requirements of the SAPSF.  See Annex C Tables 3, 4 & 5 (pages 23, 24 and 25) of the SAPSF policy Information Security: Protecting your agency’s information and the overview table.

Information Security: Protecting your agency’s information (PDF, 477.0 KB)

Minimum use and storage requirements for sensitive and security classified information overview table (PDF, 140.4 KB)

Cabinet material must never be transmitted outside the government email network or stored on non-government ICT systems or devices. Online material should also not be accessed through unsecure networks including, unsecured WiFi. Appropriate protections must be applied as per the South Australian Cyber Security Framework and related Rulings.

South Australian Cyber Security Framework (PDF, 553.6 KB)

The confidentiality of Cabinet’s deliberations is a fundamental principle of the Westminster system of government. It enables free and frank discussions amongst ministers and underpins the principle of Cabinet solidarity.

Any breaches of confidentiality or security must be reported to your responsible line manager, who must report the breach to an appropriate executive or Cabinet Office. Breaches are taken seriously, reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated thoroughly.

Accessing Cabinet Papers

Authorised users can access Cabinet papers through the electronic Cabinet database.

If you do not have access to the electronic Cabinet database, or are looking for historic papers, the following matrix provides guidance on accessing Cabinet Papers.

Decision matrix: disclosure of Cabinet documents (PDF, 22.2 KB)

The following documents provided further guidance on requesting copies of Cabinet documents.

Premier and Cabinet Circular 047 - Disclosure of Cabinet documents to investigative agencies (PDF, 144.2 KB)

Premier and Cabinet Circular 031 - Disclosure of Cabinet documents 10 years or older (PDF, 80.1 KB)