Many government publications are now often only published online. If digital documents are not archived correctly, they can be hard and sometimes impossible to trace once the contents or the url of a website is changed.
Legal deposit legislation has historically required government departments to deposit only print publications with the National Library and relevant State library. On 17 August 2015, new legislation was passed which extends legal deposit to include Australia's online landscape. The new legislation will come into effect in February 2016.
The Library also harvests Commonwealth Government websites for the Australian Government Web Archive (AGWA). The Library began regular harvests of Commonwealth Government websites in June 2011.
The Internet Archive : Wayback Machine is another avenue for finding archived online material. You will need to know the url of the website on which the online material was originally published. Often a search on Trove for the publication will help you find this information and the dates when the publication was available online.
You can also search Trove to check if a publication was published in print or not, or alternatively contact the relevant government department library directly.
Further resources can also be found in the FAQ How can I find Australian Government publications?