The Museum’s performance is guided by a set of legislative, public sector and organisational requirements. The National Museum of Australia Act 1980 charges the Museum with the function of developing, preserving and exhibiting historical material of the Australian nation. It also specifies that the Museum should conduct and disseminate research and information about Australian history (see ‘Functions and powers of the National Museum of Australia’ in Appendix 2).
These functions determine all aspects of the Museum’s performance. The government’s performance targets, specified in the annual Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), are achieved through work defined in one program, which leads to the outcome:
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.
At the operational level, the Museum’s strategic priorities and annual business priorities guide the activities of all business units to achieve the results specified in the Museum’s outcome.
The strategic priorities for 2012–14, approved by the Museum’s Council in May 2012, were to:
- build profile: the Museum is regarded as contemporary and relevant to Australians and the government
- align people, culture and structure: the Museum has the capacity to drive its strategic intent
- develop strategic partnerships: the Museum has a network of partners, sponsors and champions
- implement new forms of delivery: the Museum has current and emerging technologies in place
- raise sustainable revenue: the Museum has the capacity to invest in infrastructure.
These priorities are different to those detailed in the PBS for the 2012–13 reporting year. At the time of preparing the PBS in 2012–13, the Museum was finalising a revised set of strategic priorities for Council approval in May, which were then implemented across the Museum on 1 July 2012.