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The National Museum of Australia was established under the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 (the Museum Act) and is a Commonwealth corporate entity as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act). The Museum Act sets out the functions and powers of the Museum. In 2016–17 portfolio responsibility for the Museum sat within the Department of Communications and the Arts.

The Australian Government’s Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) for 2016–17 and the Museum’s Corporate Plan 2016–17 set out how the Museum’s performance will be measured and assessed in achieving the Museum’s purposes in 2016–17 (the reporting period). The Museum developed and published the Corporate Plan 2016–17 in accordance with the requirements of Section 35 of the PGPA Act.

This part reports on the Museum’s performance for the reporting period, as required under the PGPA Act and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

The Australian Government funds the Museum to achieve an agreed outcome through a series of performance indicators, as specified in the annual PBS. The Museum’s outcome is to ensure:

Increased awareness and understanding of Australia’s history and culture by managing the National Museum’s collections and providing access through public programs and exhibitions.


The corporate plan sets out the Museum’s purpose to: bring to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and programs. Its mission is to promote an understanding of Australia’s history and an awareness of future possibilities by:

  • sharing stories of Australia’s past, present and future
  • caring for its collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material and maintaining a gallery of First Australians
  • developing, maintaining, exhibiting and digitising a national collection of historical material
  • taking a leadership role in research and scholarship
  • delivering innovative programs, activities and resources to engage audiences nationally and internationally
  • implementing sponsorship, marketing and other commercial activities relating to the Museum’s functions.

Strategic priorities

The Museum’s purpose is supported by five strategic priorities:

Take the lead in researching, documenting and expressing the nation’s history through innovative and contemporary approaches that draw public attention to the Museum’s work.

Cherish our stories as storytellers and custodians by developing, managing and preserving the National Historical Collection to affirm the value and diversity of the nation’s history.

Listen and act in ways that put audiences at the centre of our work and create ‘two-way’ engagement with communities of interests, creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue and participatory programs.

See us first by striving to be a ‘must-see’ destination by investing in the Museum’s contemporary architecture and creative exhibitions and programs to deliver unique, distinctive visitor experiences.

Work smarter by fostering a creative culture that seeks to maximise the potential of the Museum’s people, assets and financial resources to deliver the best possible outcomes for visitors.

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