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Chair’s letter of transmittal

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield and Mr David Jones
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield      Mr David Jones

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for the Arts
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Minister

On behalf of the Council of the National Museum of Australia, I am pleased to submit our annual report for the financial year ended 30 June 2016. The Council is responsible for preparing and giving an annual report on the Museum’s activities to you, as the minister responsible for the Museum, in accordance with Section 46 of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The National Museum of Australia Annual Report 2015–16 has been prepared in conformity with the requirements for annual reports for corporate Commonwealth entities approved on behalf of the Parliament by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on 2 May 2016, and prescribed in the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

In accordance with a resolution of the Museum’s Council, passed on 9 September 2016, the members of Council accept this report as being a fair and accurate representation of the organisation’s performance during the 2015–16 financial year.

The Council is pleased with the achievements of the National Museum for 2015–16. In advancing its strategic purpose and direction, the Museum has implemented and made strong progress against the strategic priorities for 2014–18. These priorities focus on the core functions of the Museum and outline the key business objectives, activities, outputs and performance targets to be achieved over the next four years.

In meeting these strategic priorities, the Museum has continued to develop its international program through partnerships and exhibition exchanges with overseas institutions. During 2015–16, the Museum has established new partnerships with major institutions in South-East Asia, and has continued its work with European and Australian institutions to support new models of collaboration to bring Australian stories to a wider audience.

Over the past year, the Museum has provided visitors with an innovative and engaging exhibition program, featuring the award-winning Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum and its companion exhibition, Unsettled: Stories within, as well as the popular Happy Birthday Play School: Celebrating 50 Years.

The Museum has actively engaged with new audiences domestically and internationally through its successful travelling exhibition program and its digital and social media platforms. The Museum’s achievements across a range of endeavours over the past 12 months have been recognised, with significant national and international awards for Encounters, and for the new Kspace digital interactive learning experience for children.

The Museum’s focus on generating important conversations about Australia’s past, present and future was evident in a range of public discussions featuring leading commentators, researchers, artists and community representatives, in association with the Encounters exhibition and also with the Australian of the Year Awards 2016 exhibition.

In 2015–16, the Council concentrated on a number of strategic policies and initiatives regarding the Museum’s fundraising and commercial activities, to place a stronger focus on growth and sustainability of the Museum’s business model in support of its core functions.

The Council has welcomed three members and farewelled three more. I would like to acknowledge the support of all Council members who have brought their considerable expertise to the governance of the Museum.

I would like to express the Council’s appreciation of your support for the Museum this year, and that of the Department of Communications and the Arts. I acknowledge the support of the former Minister for the Arts, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, from 1 July to 21 September 2015.

Finally, all members of the Council join me in congratulating the Director and staff on the Museum’s continuing success. The Council has every confidence in the Museum’s future.

Mr David Jones
Chair of Council
August 2016