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The National Museum of Australia is a statutory authority. In 2015–16 portfolio responsibility for the Museum moved from the Attorney-General’s Department to the Department of Communications and the Arts.

Financial summary

The Museum’s financial statements disclose an operating deficit of $1.289 million (budgeted deficit $1.127 million). The budgeted deficit relates to the unfunded depreciation of heritage and cultural assets. The additional deficit relates to expenditure incurred during 2015–16 against grant funding received in prior years. Total income for 2015–16 was $47.081 million (budgeted $45.712 million) while total expenses were $48.370 million (budgeted $46.839 million).

Revenue from government was $40.819 million and revenue from other sources amounted to $6.262 million (budgeted $4.271 million). This includes gains from donated assets valued at $0.453 million. Revenue from non-government sources increased by $1.096 million compared with 2014–15. This is due to increased revenue from grants supporting temporary and touring exhibitions and commercial activities.

Total expenses were $0.172 million more than the previous year. This was mainly due to increased depreciation expenses that resulted from a rise in asset values following a revaluation of the Museum building and heritage and cultural assets in June 2016, which meant that the Museum’s net assets increased by $4.046 million. The Museum received an equity injection of $1.944 million to fund collection acquisitions.

Cash as at 30 June 2016 totalled $1.766 million (30 June 2015: $2.439 million), and investments totalled $41.000 million (30 June 2015: $40.000 million).

Financial summary 2015–16

Expenses $46.839m $48.370m
Departmental appropriations $41.441m $40.819m
Income from other sources $4.271m $6.262m
Three men and a woman in an exhibition look at shield painted with red and yellow geometric symbols.
Director Dr Mathew Trinca showing the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Lady Cosgrove and Council Chair, David Jones, a painted shield sculpture, cantchant, by Vernon Ah Kee in the Encounters exhibition

Program summary

From 1 July 2015, performance reporting requirements in the annual Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) sit alongside those required under the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework. In this year’s annual report, the Museum is reporting results against the performance criteria described in the PBS, together with annual performance statements on the activities and performance targets set out in the Museum’s Corporate Plan 2015–16, to provide a comprehensive overview of performance for the period. The Museum’s PBS 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.
(National Museum of Australia, Portfolio Budget Statements, 2015–16)

This outcome is achieved through the delivery of the program that supports the Museum’s PBS outcome:

Program 1.1 — Collection management, research, exhibitions and programs

Program 1.1 Objectives

  • Bring the stories of Australia to life through innovative exhibitions and programs.
  • Develop, manage and preserve the National Historical Collection and enable access through online engagement.
  • Establish meaningful and long-lived local, national and international partnerships.
  • Create participatory programs to build relationships and engage with audiences.

Quantitative and qualitative performance indicators were largely met or exceeded across the program.

External influences

Like other cultural institutions, the Museum faces challenges in changing social, economic and political contexts. These include:

  • changing patterns of audience interests and behaviours due to the rise of new technologies
  • limits on financial and people resources within the current economic environment
  • ensuring best-practice standards when acquiring and managing collections
  • growing awareness of the arts and cultural sector’s potential to advance the national interests of Australia in overseas settings
  • improved arrangements for the governance and administration of public sector entities.

Program 1.1 Deliverables

During 2015–16 the Museum:

  • expanded its collections through the acquisition of key objects that represent the breadth and depth of Australian history and culture
  • undertook an ongoing changeover program within the permanent galleries at Acton
  • marketed the Museum as a key destination and developed new partnerships to support its core business to reach national and international audiences
  • delivered programs for regional Australia including continued participation in the Community Heritage Grants program
  • toured temporary exhibitions across metropolitan and regional Australia and commenced a major international exhibition tour
  • in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, toured internationally a digital travelling exhibition as part of a program of facilitating cultural diplomacy
  • initiated, renewed and continued a number of key collaborations with museums in Europe and Asia to enable joint exhibition, staff and research exchange programs
  • presented public programs for families, children and audiences with a disability that promoted lifelong learning opportunities
  • grew its online audience and invested in new technologies to increase online public access to the Museum’s collection
  • delivered high-quality education programs that met the standards of the Australian Curriculum
  • developed new engagement strategies to drive growth and development and to enhance its digital presence
  • refreshed its focus on philanthropy to build a donor base that supports regular giving, major gifts and bequests.

The Museum’s performance statements for 2015–16 are set out in full in Part Two of this annual report.

A bulbous pot painted in bright colours, showing a view of an Aboriginal artists at work in the desert. The pot's lid is a sculpted figure of a seated artist.
A new acquisition in 2016, Namatjira and Battarbee Painting on Country, by Judith Pungarta Inkamala of Hermannsburg Potters, depicting artists Albert Namatjira and Rex Battarbee
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