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The National Museum of Australia is a statutory authority. Until September 2013, the Museum sat within the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio. The minister responsible for the Museum was the Hon Tony Burke MP. Following the federal election, the Museum moved to the Attorney-General’s portfolio. The minister currently responsible for the Museum is Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts.

The Museum 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 (the Museum Act) 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 (the CAC Act) 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.

Accountability chain as at 30 June 2014

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.

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 Museum Act.

The Act provides for a Council consisting of a Chair, the Director of the Museum and between seven and 10 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, media, tourism, Indigenous issues, marketing, business, and financial and strategic management.

The Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal determines remuneration for non-executive members. At 30 June 2014, 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. 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 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 the deputy chair 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 chief executive officer of the Victorian College of the Arts 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 of Neuroscience and Mental Health. She was until recently trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria and is a former board member of the Western Australian Museum and Western Australian Art Gallery.

Mr David Jones is Chief Executive Officer of Kudos Energy. He was previously executive director of Better Place (Australia), having worked in private equity for 17 years. He is also a non-executive director of four organisations: Global Sources Limited (NASDAQ), EMR Capital, EC Group and Derwent Executive.

Professor Catharine Lumby is Professor of Media at Macquarie University where her research spans media studies, gender studies and media content regulation. Since 2004, she has worked in a pro-bono role advising the National Rugby League on cultural change and education programs for players. Before entering academia in 2000, she was a journalist and opinion writer and has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Bulletin magazine.

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 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 and 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 children’s learning in museums and early childhood visual arts and education.

Mr Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome, Western Australia. He is the Chair of North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd and a director of the Yawuru PBC (Prescribed Body Corporate).

The Museum Council held five meetings during 2013–14. A senior executive staff officer from the Ministry for the Arts attended the meetings as an observer. The Museum provides Council members with information on 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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibitions and other matters. Details of Council and committee meetings are listed in Appendix 1.

The Council of the National Museum of Australia (left to right): Rae Frances, Nicholas Davie, David Jones, Andrea Hull AO, Mathew Trinca, Catharine Lumby, Peter Yu, Daniel Gilbert AM and John Morse AM.
The Council of the National Museum of Australia (left to right): Rae Frances, Nicholas Davie, David Jones, Andrea Hull AO, Mathew Trinca, Catharine Lumby, Peter Yu, Daniel Gilbert AM and John Morse AM

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.

Dr Mathew Trinca, Director

Dr Mathew Trinca was appointed Director of the National Museum of Australia in February 2014. His current term of appointment is for a period of five years. Dr Trinca was the Acting Director of the National Museum from 2 July 2013. Before that time he was the Museum’s Assistant Director, Collections, Content and Exhibitions, with responsibility for collections acquisition, management and preservation, redevelopment of permanent galleries, temporary and travelling exhibitions, and curatorial and research activities. Dr Trinca has published papers on the history of Australian travel to London and on museums and their meaning, and has co-edited two books, Country: Visions of Land and People in Western Australia and Under Suspicion: Citizenship and Internment in Australia during the Second World War. He is also the Secretary of Museums Australia’s National Council Executive.

Helen Kon, Assistant Director, Audience, Programs and Partnerships

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, Ms Kon was education services manager in marketing at the Age newspaper. She has also worked in state-wide 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. Ms Kon chairs the Museum Friends Advisory Committee and is currently the chair of the Public Programs Working Group for the National Collecting Institutions.

Rebecca Coronel, Acting Assistant Director, Collections, Content and Exhibitions

Rebecca Coronel joined the Museum in 2000. Her initial role was to recruit and train the first Visitor Services team for the opening of the Museum at Acton in 2001. For the past 10 years she has been involved in the development and delivery of temporary and touring exhibitions, and in 2009 added the management of major permanent gallery redevelopment to her role. During her tenure as Exhibitions and Gallery Development Manager, Ms Coronel was responsible for the delivery of more than 20 exhibitions and managed the implementation of a revised travelling exhibitions strategy. She is currently the Museums Australia ACT President and is engaged with issues of professional development in the cultural industry.

Graham Smith, Chief Operating Officer

Prior to joining the Museum as Chief Operating Officer in November 2010, Graham Smith 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. Mr Smith’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. Mr Smith has been on extended leave since May 2014.

Stephen Delaney, Acting Chief Operating Officer

Stephen Delaney has been with the Museum since 2011. He held the position of Chief Information Officer for three years, and has been the Acting Chief Operating Officer since May 2014. He was Chief Information Officer for four years at the Royal Australian Mint, where he led a significant enhancement of corporate and production technologies. Mr Delaney has also worked for the Treasury, Department of Administrative Services, and the Attorney-General’s Department in a range of information and communication technology roles.

The National Museum of Australia’s executive management group (left to right): Graham Smith, Rebecca Coronel, Mathew Trinca and Helen Kon.
The National Museum of Australia’s executive management group (left to right): Graham Smith, Rebecca Coronel, Mathew Trinca and Helen Kon

National Museum of Australia organisation chart as at 30 June 2014

Director, Mathew Trinca. Executive Support Manager, Stephanie Bull. Audience, Programs and Partnerships Division: Assistant Director, Helen Kon. Copyright and Production Services, Manager, Denis French. Development, Head, Monica Lindemann. Learning Services and Community Outreach, Head, David Arnold. Communications and Marketing, Head, Karen Dempster. Multimedia and Web, Acting Manager, Fiona Wood. Publishing, Acting Manager, Therese Osborne. Visitor Services and Front of House, Head, Tina Brandt. Collections, Content and Exhibitions Division, Acting Assistant Director, Rebecca Coronel:  Conservation, Head, Vicki Humphrey. Registration, Head, Sara Kelly. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Acting Head, Peter Thorley. Australian Society and History, Acting Head, Michael Pickering. People and the Environment, Head, Kirsten Wehner. Research Centre (and Library), Acting Centre Manager, Anne Faris. Collections Unit, Head, Ian Coates. Exhibitions and Gallery Development, Acting Manager, Janey Wood.  Operations Division: Acting Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Delaney. Property and Environment, Manager, Greer Gehrt. Finance, Acting Chief Finance Officer, Ian Campbell. Human Resources, Manager, Anne Mayberry. Information Services and Assurance, Chief Information Officer, Jon Freeman. Legal Services, Manager, Fiona Dalton/Belinda Carman. Retail Operations, Manager, Stephen Quinn.

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. Quantitative measures, project management practices and qualitative reports are used to monitor performance.

The Museum reports its performance to government and other external interests through the Annual Report (yearly) and the Portfolio Budget Statements (monthly). This framework will be reviewed during 2014–15 to ensure alignment with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the new Commonwealth Performance Framework.

Strategic priorities

The Museum’s Council endorsed revised strategic priorities in May 2012. These priorities form the basis of the business priorities in the 2013–14 reporting year. 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 business units implement annual business plans linked to the Museum’s strategic and annual business priorities and budgets. Business planning identifies key risks and risk mitigation for the delivery of these priorities.

Project management

The Museum endorsed the creation of a new Project Management Framework in 2011. The new framework and supporting project management tools were adopted in 2013–14 and are used to deliver both products and services. The phased approach of the new framework guides the user through each step, ensuring well-defined responsibilities and business planning, improved accountability and scalability.

Policies and plans

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

Museum Performance Management Framework overview

Flow chart of the Museum Performance Management Framework overview. The chart contains four columns 'External framework', Performance stream', 'Internal framework' and 'Reporting Outputs'. Listed under 'External framework' are '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 PBS report / Annual report (yearly)'. Listed Under 'Performance stream' in descending order are Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Listed under 'Internal framework' in descending order are Strategic Plan (Level 1), Annual Business Plan, High level plans, Policies (Level 2) and Business unit plans, BAU, Projects, Procedures, and Workplace conversations (Level 3). Listed under 'Reporting Outputs' in descending order are Strategic Priorities (Level 1 and 2), Performance measures report to Council and Executive (Level 1 and 2), Council and Audit meetings, Executive meetings, Major projects steering committee and Steps 1-3: Conversations on annual cycle (Level 3).

Internal and external scrutiny

Internal audit

Synergy Group Australia Ltd, the Museum’s internal audit service provider, has maintained a focus on ensuring the completion of prior audit outcomes, the delivery of value-adding services and completion of the Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2013–14. Activities included the following five compliance and performance audits:

  • a review of the Museum’s Fraud Control Framework, culminating in an updated Fraud Control Plan consistent with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines
  • a gap analysis of the Museum’s Personnel and Governance Security Framework, in reference to the Protective Security Policy Framework
  • a review of the Museum’s Collections Development Framework, to inform a broader discussion of the Museum’s collection development activities
  • a review of the Museum’s management of external revenue and support, including the development and implementation of strategies to increase and sustain its external revenue sources
  • a review of the Museum’s collection valuation methodology and processes.

A Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2014–15 has been approved and incorporates a two-year audit outlook for 2015–16 and 2016–17. This includes a review of internal audits undertaken in the past five years to ensure a consistent long-term approach to internal audit activities.

External audit

The Australian National Audit Office 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

The Museum’s Risk Management Framework is based on the International Standard on Risk Management, ISO31000:2009. The aim of the Risk Management Framework is to assist all managers and supervisors to incorporate formal risk management assessment 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 Museum’s 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 integrity, safety and security throughout the organisation, and 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 Museum’s executive management group reviews the key enterprise risks on a monthly basis. This ensures transparency of enterprise risks, which are subsequently discussed with the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.

The Museum continues to participate in Comcover’s Annual Risk Management and Insurance Benchmarking program and as a result received an increased discount on its 2014–15 premium.

Fraud control

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

The Museum’s Fraud Risk Assessment and Control Plan is endorsed by Council and reviewed every two years. It was reviewed in September 2013 and updated further in January 2014 as part of the implementation of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. Fraud is reported as a standing item to the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. There have been no reported instances of fraud at the Museum during 2013–14.

Fraud awareness training is provided to all staff as part of their induction and ongoing general awareness training.

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 this information (or details of how to access it) on a website.

There were four requests for access to documents under Section 15 of the FOI Act during 2013–14.

Details of the Museum’s compliance with the IPS requirements during 2013–14 are available in Appendix 4.

Privacy legislation

The Museum substantially revised its privacy policy as a result of amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), which commenced in March 2014. No reports by the Privacy Commissioner under Section 30 of the Privacy Act 1988 concerning actions or practices by the Museum were received during 2013–14.

Formal decisions/notifications/ministerial directions

The Museum received no formal notifications or ministerial directions from the Minister for Finance and Deregulation during 2013–14. Ministerial directions from previous financial years that continue to apply in 2013–14 relate to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and annual reporting requirements for Commonwealth authorities.

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

Significant events, judicial decisions and particulars of reports

The Museum did not advise the Minister of any significant events during 2013–14, 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.

No reports about the Museum were made by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary committee, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Legal actions

In 2013–14 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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