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The Museum is committed to creating an environment that people love and this commitment extends to both visitors and employees. Creating and maintaining an organisational culture and environment that successfully attracts and retains high quality employees and supports and enhances individual and team capabilities are fundamental to the Museum’s success. The Museum values excellent performance and diversity and continues to review, develop and implement workplace practices and programs that support staff to perform to the best of their ability.

Museum staff members are employed under the Public Service Act 1999, and employment conditions are established under legislation applying to the Australian Public Service and, in particular, the Museum’s enterprise agreement. At 30 June 2012, the Museum employed 251 staff consisting of 215 ongoing and 36 non-ongoing employees, which represented a full-time equivalent number of 220.06. Continued effort to review, manage and monitor staffing resources and budget has resulted in an overall reduction of Museum staff numbers this year.

Total staff numbers as at 30 June each year

Financial year Total staff numbers
2004–05 263
2005–06 304
2006–07 292
2007–08 282
2008–09 284
2009–10 297
2010–11 266
2011–12 251

Impact and features of enterprise agreements

As an Australian Public Service (APS) agency, the Museum employs people within a regulatory framework that includes federal workplace relations and related legislation, the Public Service Act 1999 and common law employment contracts.

In a continually evolving workplace relations and public sector management environment, the Museum provides terms and conditions of employment using a range of statutory and common law instruments. A collective agreement negotiated with employees and their representatives is at the heart of the framework. The Museum has maintained a high level of employee support for collectively negotiated arrangements over the past decade, reflecting an ongoing culture of consultation and trust.

The National Museum of Australia negotiated a new enterprise agreement during 2011–12. The National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2012–14 commenced on 27 April 2012 and will expire on 30 June 2014.

A number of individual Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996continue to be in effect within the Museum. These AWAs will operate until they are terminated, as provided under the Fair Work Act 2009, or the relevant employment ceases. Further AWAs will not be made.

The 2012–14 Enterprise Agreement provides for individual employees to negotiate pay and conditions enhancements through Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs). The IFAs are designed to supplement the terms of the enterprise agreement with payments, benefits and/ or conditions to recognise particular skills, capabilities or additional responsibilities or to meet special workplace circumstances, operational requirements or to provide individual flexibility. A number of IFAs have been negotiated and approved across the Museum.

Attracting the right people

The Museum competes in a highly competitive employment market with public sector agencies, other museums and cultural institutions, academic institutions and private enterprise. Despite the competitive employment market, the Museum continues to attract highly skilled external and internal applicants for vacancies, with only limited specialist roles being difficult to fill.

The Museum continued to promote diversity and strived to establish a staffing profile that was representative of the Australian community.

Staffing by division as at 30 June 2012

Directorate 6 2 8
Operations 60 6 66
Collections, Content and Exhibitions 65 20 85
Audience, Programs and Partnerships 84 8 92
Total 21536251

Staffing by employment status as at 30 June 2012

Ongoing full-time Principal Executive Officer (PEO) 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time PEO 1 0 1
Ongoing full-time Senior Executive Service (SES) 2 1 3
Ongoing full-time non-SES 50 101 151
Ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Ongoing part-time non-SES 16 45 61
Non-ongoing full-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time non-SES 10 14 24
Non-ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing part-time non-SES 3 8 11

Staffing by APS level as at 30 June 2012

APS levelsMaleFemaleTotal
PEO 1 0 1
SESB2 0 0 0
SESB1 2 1 3
Executive Level 2 6 16 25
Executive Level 1 13 18 31
APS6 14 30 44
APS5 10 25 35
APS4 9 34 43
APS3 3 15 18
APS2 21 29 50
APS1 0 0 0
CADET 0 1 1

Supporting and maintaining a high performance culture

The Museum’s performance management framework, Workplace Conversations, was developed in 2003 and reviewed in 2006. The framework focuses on providing clarity about the work to be done, and encourages and supports meaningful and timely workplace conversations and feedback.

Workplace Conversations is a formal process that requires staff members to have regular performance discussions with their manager. These formal discussions, linked to overall strategic and business objectives, cover the scope and deliverables of a staff member’s position, the support required to deliver them, and a documented agreement on relevant learning and development opportunities.

Mid-cycle team conversations encourage discussions on team performance and complement the regular individual focus characteristic of Workplace Conversations.

Sustaining a consultative culture

The Museum is proud of its consultative culture and has successfully embedded a consultation framework that provides all employees with the opportunity to be an integral part of the decision-making process. The Museum Consultative Forum, consisting of the Director, representatives appointed by the Director and staff representatives, oversees and engages on strategic issues impacting on the Museum. This forum is supplemented by a Workplace Consultative Committee that monitors and consults on operational matters affecting Museum staff.

The Museum also works closely with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) on all relevant matters affecting staff and a CPSU representative also sits on the Museum Consultative Forum.

Supporting and making workplace diversity a priority

A fundamental aim of the Museum is to deliver exhibitions and programs that encourage awareness and understanding of Australian history and culture. Museum staff play an integral role in delivering these exhibitions and programs by bringing diverse perspectives, backgrounds and understandings to their work. Accordingly, the Museum constantly strives to maintain and encourage diversity within the workplace. The Museum’s Workplace Diversity Plan seeks to create an environment that is supportive of people’s diversity by building knowledge and capabilities from many backgrounds within the Museum, having business processes that support diversity, and developing diverse ways to work.

In 2011–12, the Museum Workplace Diversity Reference Group and three supporting workgroups — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, disability, and cultural and linguistic diversity — continued to develop strategies that support and promote diversity within the workplace.

This year, progress has been achieved through a range of actions, including:

  • ongoing commitment to an Indigenous Employment Support network, a Volunteers and Diversity Support Officer and support for Indigenous cadets
  • engaging an Indigenous Head for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program together with a co-ordinator for Indigenous programs and a new Indigenous cadet
  • developing a draft Reconciliation Action Plan, with the assistance of Reconciliation Australia
  • providing ongoing support for employees and potential job applicants with disabilities through Job Access
  • the installation of automatic doors and reconfiguring of disabled car parking spaces
  • delivering ‘Beyond Blue’ sessions for managers and employees on workplace mental health issues
  • recruiting and training additional Workplace Support Officers to provide support for employees who may be the subject of bullying or discrimination
  • including questions on workplace diversity issues in the staff survey.

Museum staff diversity

GroupNo. % total staff
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 12 4.8
People with disabilities 6 2.4
Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 40 15.9
Females 169 67.3

Enhancing our capability through learning and development

The Museum’s corporate training program is aligned with its capability profile and strategic business objectives. During 2011–12, the program continued to focus on building capability in leadership, interpersonal skills and building better relationships, writing, performance management and application of the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

Other staff training focused on core behaviours, skills and knowledge required by staff across the Museum, and included:

  • respectful workplace behaviour training
  • seminars on workplace health and safety for all staff, particularly relating to the changed legislative environment
  • manual handling training
  • hot fire training
  • privacy awareness training
  • courses for first aid officers, wardens and section health and safety representatives
  • applying for jobs training
  • mental health awareness sessions
  • a range of employee assistance seminars.

Recognising people

Staff recognition at the Museum is usually expressed formally between those involved in individual performance management via the Workplace Conversations framework. This is a critical level of recognition, stressing the importance of having constructive conversations, aligned with strategic and business priorities, throughout the year.

To provide wider recognition of significant contributions and achievements by its staff, the Director presented Australia Day Achievement Medallions to five employees who had made noteworthy contributions to the work of the Museum during the past year or over a number of years.

Staff achievements and news are published regularly on the Museum’s intranet and through the internal newsletter, the Loop.

The contribution of volunteers

This financial year 79 volunteers contributed 4318 hours, or 2.3 full-time equivalents, to areas including curatorial, administration and festival days.

The Museum’s largest volunteer program supports the 130-year-old paddle steamer, PS Enterprise — the crew being drawn entirely from volunteers. Depending on qualifications and experience, the 37 volunteers perform various roles aboard the vessel: master, mate, engineer, leading deckhand, deckhand and galley hand. The crew brought the PS Enterprise to life each weekend from September to December 2011 and April to May 2012. In 2011–12 the volunteer crew contributed 1318 hours, ensuring the PS Enterprise operated most weekends.

Volunteers also contributed to:

  • Education: Twenty-nine volunteers contributed 2286 hours assisting in the delivery of the Museum’s Education programs, enhancing the students’ and teachers’ experience of Australian history. Volunteers also helped visitor services hosts with introductions for teacher-guided groups.
  • Public Programs: Two volunteers contributed 76 hours assisting in delivering school holiday programs for families.
  • Library: One volunteer spent 46 hours assisting Library staff.
  • Exhibitions: Twenty-five volunteers contributed 227 hours in the Not Just Ned: A True History of the Irish in Australia temporary exhibition, helping visitors to research their own family history. Five volunteers contributed 120 hours to the exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions talking about their personal experiences.
  • Office of the Principal Indigenous Advisor to the Director: One volunteer contributed 100 hours providing research and office assistance.
  • Records Management: Four volunteers contributed 127 hours scanning and organising files.

Post-separation employment

There were no applications for post-separation employment during the year.

Educational and developmental opportunities

The Museum continued to be a sought-after venue for secondary and tertiary students seeking work experience, with a number of students undertaking work experience placements or undertaking internships with the Museum.

Promoting a healthy and safe workplace

The workplace health and safety (WHS) of all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors continued to be a priority for the Museum during 2011–12. This was achieved through the Museum’s well-established framework for WHS management, which includes:

  • WHS Committee meetings held every two months
  • health and safety representatives and deputies in each of the five designated work groups
  • targeted safety improvements
  • incident reporting and investigation
  • provision of timely information to employees via a dedicated intranet page and the use of dedicated display boards in staff areas.

The changes introduced through the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which came into effect on 1 January 2012, were promulgated to all staff and volunteers through:

  • the development of guidance material for all levels of staff, as well as Council
  • use of online training
  • training for managers and supervisors
  • information sessions for visitor services host teams.

The focus was to make all staff aware of the changes, including their own increased responsibility for ensuring the safety of their workplaces, as well as the increase in punitive measures that can be implemented for any breach of the legislation.

The Museum is also reviewing its existing WHS procedures and guidelines to ensure that they meet the requirements of the new legislation.

Some of the health initiatives undertaken during the year included voluntary health assessments and making flu vaccinations available to all Museum staff and volunteers.

Training for staff and volunteers is recognised as one of the key elements in achieving and maintaining a high standard of workplace safety.

Training provided during 2011–12 included:

  • online WHS training courses for all new employees
  • induction presentations for all visitor services hosts focusing on their WHS obligations to each other and to the public
  • training courses focusing on the WHS obligations of managers and supervisors
  • ongoing recruitment and training of building wardens, first aid officers, and health and safety representatives.

The Museum continued to ensure that all contractors working on Museum sites receive a site induction prior to commencing work. Site inductions are aimed at increasing contractor awareness of WHS obligations and reducing the risk of injury and/or damage to collection items. The Museum identified, assessed and rectified safety hazards in a functional and practical way that also took environmental and aesthetic aspects into consideration. Inspection and reporting tools were reviewed and disseminated to health and safety representatives to help them conduct regular workplace inspections and report findings to the WHS Committee.

Advice on WHS issues is also fed into the exhibition and gallery development programs. Input was provided at all stages of these programs, from design to installation.

There were a total of 79 minor injuries (those that require no medical treatment or only first aid treatment and include potential exposures to chemicals) and three serious injuries (those that require emergency medical attention by a doctor, in a hospital or in an ambulance) reported by staff, visitors or contractors during the year. There were also five dangerous incidents (those incidents that could have, but did not, result in serious injury or death). The serious injuries and dangerous incidents were reported to Comcare. There were no fatalities or provisional improvement notices recorded during the year.


The Museum continued to maintain a safe and secure environment for visitors, staff, contractors and collections, including the National Historical Collection, and all Museum leased and owned buildings and infrastructure.

During 2011–12, the Museum entered into a new contract for the provision of security services for a period of three years. The contract was awarded following an open tender procurement process. The Museum also exercised an option to extend the existing comprehensive security maintenance contract by a further 12 months.

An extensive capital works program was completed during the year. This program addressed issues identified in a Physical Security Risk Review undertaken in 2010–11.

The capital works on the Acton site included:

  • upgrading security infrastructure including moving to the Museum’s IT network
  • replacing existing security analogue cameras with digital cameras and installing additional internal and external CCTV cameras
  • installing additional access control and monitoring systems, including the primary data centre.

The capital works on the Mitchell sites included:

  • installing a new fibre optic link to enable the monitoring and control of access to remote sites from the Acton Security Control Room
  • providing a secure sliding gate and secure fence for increased security to the premises at 90 Vicars Street.

Category of person injured, 2011–12

Graph showing the category of person injured, 2011-12. Visitors 44 per cent, contractors 16 per cent, staff and volunteers 40 per cent.

Category and number of reported incidents, 2007–12

Year Minor injuries Serious injuriesDangerous occurrences
2007–08 60 3 5
2008–09 85 6 3
2009–10 89 1 1
2010–11 98 5 8
2011–12 79 3 5

Causes of injury or dangerous occurrences, 2007–12

Column graph indicating the causes of injury or dangerous occurences with the financial years 2007-12 represented by four different colours. The causes are divided into falls/slips/trips, body stressing, hitting objects, being hit by objects, heat/radiation, electricity and other. Falls/slips/trips is the most common occurrence reported for each of the financial years.

Indemnities and insurance

In accordance with Section 19 of the Commonwealth Authorities (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011, which requires reporting on indemnities and insurance premiums for officers, the Museum confirms that it has:

  • director’s and officers’ liability insurance cover through Comcover, the Commonwealth self-managed fund
  • not entered into any deeds of indemnity in relation to director’s and officers’ liability.

The Museum reviewed its insurance coverage during the year to ensure that it remained appropriate for its operations.

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