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The National Museum of Australia guides the delivery of its outputs through its corporate governance framework. This framework comprises the Museum’s enabling legislation and other legislative instruments, managerial and organisational structures, corporate policies and strategies, and resource management practices.


The National Museum of Australia Act 1980 defines the broad functions and activities of the Museum. This Act established the Museum as a Commonwealth statutory authority and, along with the National Museum of Australia Regulations 2000, defines the Museum’s role, functions and powers. (For the functions and powers of the Museum, see Appendix 2).

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 provides a single set of core reporting, auditing and accountability requirements for directors of Commonwealth authorities. It also deals with other matters such as banking and investment and the conduct of officers, and states that directors are responsible for the preparation and content of the report of operations in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011. The Public Service Act 1999 covers the powers of the Director of the National Museum of Australia in relation to the management of human resources.

The National Museum of Australia is a statutory authority, and changed portfolios in December 2011 from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

Governance model

Doughnut chart divided into four equal sections labelled: 'Accountability', 'Controls', 'Strategy', 'Performance'. The centre of the doughnut is labelled 'Executive team'.
Other stakeholders
Codes of conduct
Certified Agreement
Staff circulars

Vision and mission
Performance management
* plans, policies and procedures
* strategic and business plans
Personal performance plans
Organisational structure
Risk management

Internal conformance
and reporting
External conformance
and reporting

Accountability chain as at 30 June 2012

A chart showing top row: Parliament. Second row: Minister, Auditor-General. Third row: Council Committees, Council of the National Museum of Australia. Fourth row: Director, National Museum of Australia. Bottom row: Audience, Programs and Partnerships; Collections, Content and Exhibitions: Operations; Directorate.

Council and committees

The Council of the National Museum of Australia is responsible for the overall performance of the organisation, including setting the strategic direction and establishing goals for management. The Council works with executive management in developing, executing, monitoring and adjusting the appropriate strategies, and its members are appointed under Section 13(2) of the National Museum of Australia Act 1980.

This Act provides for a Council consisting of a Chair, the Director of the Museum and between seven and ten other members. All members are appointed by the Governor-General and, apart from the Director, are part-time appointees for terms of up to three years, although terms of appointment can be extended. The Director can hold office for a period not exceeding seven years.

The current membership of the Council provides a mix of skills and experience in the areas of history, law, education, the arts, museum management, tourism, Indigenous issues, business, and financial and strategic management.

A performance review of the Museum’s Council members is scheduled to occur early in 2012–13 and its findings will be used to update and inform Council education and training needs.

The Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal determines remuneration for non-executive members. At 30 June 2012, the Council comprised the following non-executive members:

Mr Daniel Gilbert AM (Chair) has many years of experience as a commercial lawyer and company director. Since the mid-1970s, he has had extensive involvement with social justice issues through work with community legal centres and public organisations and the arts. In 1992 he established the Gilbert+Tobin Pro Bono practice, which has a strong emphasis on Indigenous issues. In addition to his role as Chair of the National Museum of Australia, he is Managing Partner of Gilbert+Tobin, a non-executive director of the National Australia Bank, and chair of the University of Western Sydney Foundation.

Mr Nicholas Davie is the former Chief Executive Officer of the marketing and advertising company, Publicis Mojo, and is the founder of a number of data analytics and marketing companies, including Brand Communities. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sport and Tourism Youth Foundation and is also one of the founders and the co-chair of the children’s charity, The Bestest Foundation.

Professor Rae Frances is the Dean of Arts and Professor of History at Monash University. She has an extensive record of teaching, research and publication in Australian social history and is the recipient of numerous national awards and prizes for both her teaching and publications. She is a member of the Board of the Australian Intercultural Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Emeritus Andrea Hull AO has held senior roles at international, federal and state levels in cultural, heritage and education areas. She was Director and Dean of the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne for 14 years. She is an executive coach and a non-executive director of a range of boards, including the Board of the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health.

Mr David Jones took on the role of Executive Director, Better Place (Australia) during the year after being Managing Director, CHAMP Private Equity. He is also a non-executive director of four organisations: Global Sources Limited (NASDAQ), EMR Capital, EC Group and Derwent Executive.

Mr John Morse AM is an advisor on Indigenous tourism projects, and is currently working on a 20-year master plan to develop cultural tourism in Arnhem Land. He is also the owner of John Morse Art, and Chair of the Mutitjulu Foundation. He worked for the Australian Tourist Commission for 20 years in Europe and Asia, and was Managing Director from 1997 to 2001, overseeing the development of Brand Australia, the Chinese tourism market, and driving the highly successful international campaign to leverage tourism from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM is a freelance consultant and researcher in education and the arts. Her research explores cultural policy and childhood, children’s learning in museums, and early childhood visual arts education. Dr Piscitelli is a member of the Board of the Queensland Museum.

Mr Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome, Western Australia. He is the Chairman of North Australian Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd.

The Council held four meetings during 2011–12. An executive officer from the Office for the Arts attended the meetings as an observer.

The Museum provides Council members with information on government changes to corporate governance responsibilities as it becomes available, including Australian National Audit Office documents and guidelines.

The Council has policy and procedures for the disclosure and resolution of any matter for its consideration that may result in a conflict of interest. Members are required to make the nature of that interest known at the commencement of a Council meeting, and details of such disclosures are recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

The Council has established an Audit, Finance and Risk Committee to assist in the execution of its responsibilities and an Indigenous Advisory Committee to advise on sensitivities and protocols relating to exhibitions and other matters. Council began a review of the function and role of the Indigenous Advisory Committee during the year and this will be finalised in 2012–13. Details of Council and committee meetings are listed in Appendix 1.

The Council of the National Museum of Australia.
The Council of the National Museum of Australia: (left to right) Peter Yu, David Jones, Raelene Frances, John Morse AM, Daniel Gilbert AM, Andrew Sayers AM, Barbara Piscitelli AM, Andrea Hull AO, Nicholas Davie (absent)

Executive management group

The executive management group, comprising the Director, two Assistant Directors, and the Chief Operating Officer, provides strategic and operational leadership to the Museum.

Andrew Sayers AM, Director

Andrew Sayers was appointed Director of the Museum in April 2010. He was previously Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, from 1998 to 2010. After graduating from the University of Sydney, he began his career at the Art Gallery of New South Wales before moving to Newcastle Region Art Gallery as Assistant Director. Before his appointment at the National Portrait Gallery he was Assistant Director (Collections) at the National Gallery of Australia. Andrew has been responsible for several exhibitions of Australian art, particularly in the areas of drawing and portraiture. He has written extensively and is the author of Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 1994) and Oxford History of Art: Australian Art (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Helen Kon, Assistant Director, Audience, Programs and Partnership

Helen Kon joined the Museum in 2011 after working in senior management positions at the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales. She played a major role in many of the positive changes that have taken place in those institutions through the development of numerous community engagement programs. Prior to working in the cultural sector, Helen was Education Services Manager in marketing at the Agenewspaper. She has also worked in statewide curriculum consultancy roles and taught at secondary and tertiary levels. Her wider professional contributions have included membership and chairing of a number of national and state committees, boards and professional associations across the cultural and education sectors.

Dr Mathew Trinca, Assistant Director, Collections, Content and Exhibitions

Before he joined the National Museum in 2003, Dr Mathew Trinca worked as a curator of history at the Western Australian Museum and as a consultant historian on film, conservation and public history projects. Mathew has research interests in Australian cultural history and museum practice, and was a co-editor of Country, a collection of essays on Western Australia’s environmental history, and Under Suspicion, a collection devoted to studies of internment in Australia during the Second World War. He was on extended leave from the Museum during 2011–12. Dr Michael Pickering, Dr Kirsten Wehner and Dr Guy Hansen acted in his position during his absence.

Graham Smith, Chief Operating Officer

Prior to joining the Museum as Chief Operating Officer in November 2010, Graham worked at the Royal Australian Mint for four years, firstly as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and then Acting Chief Executive Officer. He was influential in leading the Mint through major transformational change in both visitor facilities and work processes. Graham’s public service career has spanned more than 30 years, with experience in the provision of both policy and corporate advice in executive and senior management positions in the Department of Treasury, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of the Assistant Treasurer. He is active in a range of Canberra-based community organisations and sits on a number of Australian Capital Territory Government advisory boards.

The Executive of the National Museum of Australia standing beside a vintage car.
The Executive of the National Museum of Australia: (left to right) Assistant Director, Mathew Trinca; Chief Operating Officer, Graham Smith; Assistant Director, Helen Kon; and Director, Andrew Sayers

National Museum of Australia organisation chart as at 30 June 2012

National Museum of Australia organisation chart as at 30 June 2012. Director, Andrew Sayers. Strategy and Governance: Strategy, Policy and Audit Manager, Roger Garland. International Relations, Policy and Strategic Risk Manager, Stephanie Bull. Public Affairs, Manager, Dennis Grant. Indigenous Principal Advisor, Margo Neale. Audience, Programs and Partnerships Division: Assistant Director, Helen Kon.Public Programs, Assistant Manager, Heidi Pritchard. Marketing, Assistant Manager, Barbra Wilson. Education, Manager, David Arnold. Publishing, Manager, Julie Ogden. Multimedia and Web Manager, Tikka Wilson. Copyright and Production Services, Manager, Denis French. Visitor Services and Volunteers, Manager, Tina Brandt. Friends, Executive Officer, Belinda Nicholson. Collections, Content and Exhibitions Division, Assistant Director, Mathew Trinca. Registration, Manager, Sara Kelly. Conservation, Manager, Vicki Humphrey. Curatorial and Research, Head, Michael Pickering: Collections Development, Head, Carol Cooper; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Head, Alisa Duff; People and the Environment, Head, Kirsten Wehner; Australian Society and History, Head, Sophie Jensen. Centre for Historical Research, Head, Peter Stanley. Exhibitions and Gallery Development, Manager, Rebecca Coronel. Operations Division, Chief Operating Officer, Graham Smith: Commercial Operations, Manager, Trish Kirkland. Design and Environment, Manager, Greer Gehrt. Facilities and Security, Manager, John Ryan. Finance, Chief Finance Officer, Kylie Noonan. Human Resources, Manager, Anne Mayberry. Information, Media and Technology, Chief Information Officer, Stephen Delaney. Legal Services, Manager, Fiona Dalton/Belinda Carman. National Sponsorship and Development, Manager, Monica Lindemann.

Performance Management Framework

The Museum’s organisational Performance Management Framework provides the structure for delivering outputs and outcomes through planning, policy and procedural work. Performance is guided by the Museum’s strategic and business plans. Performance is tracked through quantitative measures, project management practices and qualitative reports. The framework will be reviewed during the coming financial year in the context of a new strategic plan, an organisational restructure and a revised set of key performance measures.

The Museum reports its performance to government and other external interests through the Annual Report (yearly) and the Portfolio Budget Statements (monthly).

Strategic priorities

The Museum’s strategic priorities for 2011–12 to 2015–16 were endorsed by Council in March 2011. The key priorities are reported against in Part One: Executive summary — Achievement of strategic and business priorities.

Business planning

Business planning is central to the Museum’s delivery of outcomes and outputs for its stakeholders. Museum divisions and their business units implement annual business plans linked to the Museum’s strategic and annual business priorities. Business planning identifies key risks and risk mitigation for the delivery of these priorities.

Project management

The Museum’s Project Management Methodology was reviewed and simplified with further development planned in the coming financial year.

Policies and plans

The Museum has a comprehensive suite of policies and plans. These are monitored and reviewed at regular intervals and made available publicly on the Museum’s website.

Museum Performance Management Framework overview

Flow chart of the Museum Performance Management Framework overview for 2011-2012. Left-hand column under the main heading 'External framework' reads 'National Museum of Australia Act 1980', other legislation, government policy, Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), national and international conventions, agreements etc'. A line joins these categories to another box which reads 'Reporting outputs', and at the bottom, another which reads 'Charter of Operations (yearly statement) / PBS report (monthly) / Annual report (yearly)'. To the right of the chart, under the main heading 'Internal framework', are four columns headed: 'Collections and Stewardship, Access and Audience, Environmental Impact, Organisational Health and Culture.' Each of these performance streams is linked by a line down to the 'Level 1: Strategic Plan' and 'Level 2: Annual business plan / High level plans / Policies'. They also drill down to 'Level 3: Annual divisional business plan' for these four separate areas: 'Audience, Programs and Partnerships; Collections, Content and Exhibitions; Directorate; Operations'. Each of these in turn links to separate 'Business unit plans; BAU, projects, procedures; Workplace Conversations'. At the far right, under a column headed 'Reporting outputs', the Strategic Plan boxed is linked to 'Half yearly strategic priorities report to Council and Executive'. Level 2 is linked to 'Quarterly Business Report to Council and Executive, Performance Measures Report to Council and Executive'. Level 3 is linked to 'Monthly / Performance Measures Report to Executive / Plans: report to supervisors / Projects: report to Executive'. Workplace Conversations at the bottom is linked to 'Steps 1-3: conversations on annual cycle'.

Internal and external scrutiny

Internal audit

The Museum’s contract for internal audit services with external service provider RSM Bird Cameron expired during the year. Synergy Group Australia Ltd was selected to be the new provider, commencing in December 2011.

During 2011–12:

  • a review of assurance processes for annual financial statements was completed
  • the Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2012–2015 was developed and accepted by the Museum
  • a range of reviews commenced that are due for completion early in 2012–13, including reviews of:

– finance function business processes
– outstanding internal audit recommendations
– wireless technology (IT security).

External audit

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is responsible for auditing the Museum’s annual financial statements. An unqualified audit opinion precedes the annual financial statements in Part Four of this report — Audited financial statements.

Risk management and fraud control

The Museum’s risk management framework was reviewed this year in conjunction with an external consultant, to ensure that it met the requirements of the International Standard on Risk Management, ISO31000:2009. The aim of the risk management framework is to help all managers and supervisors to incorporate formal risk management processes into their work, to enable the efficient and effective delivery of the Museum’s programs and to promote sound business practices. The Museum’s risk management framework focuses on categories including workplace health and safety, preservation of the National Historical Collection, damage to the building and infrastructure, financial loss, fraud, loss of reputation and damage to the environment.

The Museum is committed to fostering a culture of risk management throughout the organisation and, within an overall risk management framework, has developed and continues to maintain:

  • a robust risk management policy
  • strategic and corporate risk management plans
  • business unit risk management planning
  • event risk management plans.

The elements of the framework are continuously improved to make them more user-friendly, while adhering to the requirements of government, ISO standards and best practice.

The Museum’s Strategic Risk Management Plan was reviewed twice during the year by the Council’s Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. Business unit risk management plans were reviewed as part of the annual budget review process. The Museum’s executive management reviews the key organisational risks on a monthly basis. Business unit risk management plans were reviewed as part of the annual budget review process. The Museum continued to participate in Comcover’s Annual Risk Management and Insurance Benchmarking program and as a result received a discount on its 2012–13 premium.

The Museum has in place fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures and processes that, together with the Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan, meet the specific needs of the Museum and comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

The Museum’s Fraud Risk Assessment and Control Plan is endorsed by Council and reviewed every two years. The Fraud Control Plan was reviewed during 2011–12 and updated to reflect identified risks facing the Museum. Fraud awareness training is provided to all staff as part of their induction training program and general awareness training. During 2011–12, the Museum implemented online fraud awareness training that is available to staff on the Museum intranet.

Freedom of information

Part 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) established an Information Publication Scheme (IPS). The Museum is subject to the FOI Act and is required to comply with the IPS requirements.

In accordance with the IPS, the Museum is required to:

  • publish an agency plan
  • publish specified categories of information
  • consider proactively publishing other government information
  • publish the information (or details of how to access it) on a website.

Details of the Museum’s compliance with the IPS requirements during 2011–12 are available in Appendix 4.

There was one formal request for access to documents under Section 15 of the Act during 2011–12.

Privacy legislation

The Museum provides information as required to the Privacy Commissioner for inclusion in the Personal Information Digest. No reports by the Privacy Commissioner under Section 30 of the Privacy Act 1988 concerning actions or practices by the Museum were received during 2011–12.

Formal decisions/notifications/ ministerial directions

The Museum received no formal notifications or ministerial directions from the Minister for Finance and Deregulation during 2011–12. Ministerial directions that continue to apply in 2011–12, from previous financial years, relate to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and Certificate of Compliance Report requirements.

There are no general policies of the Australian Government that were notified to the Museum before 1 July 2008 under section 28 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), and there are no General Policy Orders that apply to the Museum under section 48A of the CAC Act.

Significant events

The Museum did not advise the Minister of any significant events during 2011–12, in accordance with the CAC Act. There have been no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals that have had, or might have, a significant effect on the operations of the Museum. There have been no amendments to legislation that affect the operation or structure of the Museum.

Legal actions

In 2011–12 the Museum did not settle any claims as a result of any legal action.


No new issues or matters about the Museum were referred to, or raised with, the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office.

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