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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 2017–18 portfolio responsibility for the Museum sat within the Department of Communications and the Arts.

The Australian Government’s Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) for 2017–18 and the Museum’s Corporate Plan 2017–18 set out how the Museum’s performance will be measured and assessed in achieving the Museum’s purposes in 2017–18 (the reporting period). The Museum developed and published the Corporate Plan 2017–18 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

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

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 Museum brings 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:

  • developing, preserving, digitising and exhibiting a significant national collection
  • taking a leadership role in research and scholarship
  • engaging and providing access for audiences nationally and internationally
  • delivering innovative programs.

Strategic priorities

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

Take the lead: The Museum takes the lead role in researching, documenting and expressing the nation’s history. We are committed to organisational excellence, and innovative and contemporary approaches that draw public attention to our work.

Cherish our stories: The Museum’s collection is a rich resource for explaining the forces that have formed modern Australia. We affirm the value and diversity of the nation’s history and experience through our work as storytellers and custodians.

Listen and act: The Museum puts audiences and visitors at the centre of all its work. We commit to ongoing ‘two-way’ engagement with communities of interest outside our walls, and value their role, expertise and interest in our success.

See us first: The Museum’s creative form and stunning lakeside site make it a ‘must see’ Canberra destination. We invest in our contemporary architecture and creative exhibitions and programs to deliver unique, distinctive experiences for our visitors.

Work smarter: A creative culture that seeks to exploit future opportunities requires efficient organisations and processes. We are focused on maximising the potential of our people, assets and financial resources to deliver the best possible outcomes.

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