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Taking care of people

The Museum is committed to creating a supportive, productive and collaborative work environment that attracts and retains talented employees who are capable of contributing to the Museum’s success. The Museum values performance, innovation, creativity and diversity and, in 2013–14, it continued to review, develop and implement workplace practices and programs that support staff to achieve their best.

Museum staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999, and employment conditions are established under legislation applying to the Australian Public Service and, in particular, the National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2012–14.

A number of individual Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 continue to be in effect within the Museum. These AWAs will operate until they are terminated, as provided under the Fair Work Act 2009, or the relevant employment ceases. Further AWAs cannot be made.

The National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2012–14 provides for individual employees to negotiate pay and conditions enhancements through Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs). These are designed to supplement the terms of the enterprise agreement with payments, benefits and/or conditions to recognise particular skills, capabilities or additional responsibilities, or to meet special workplace circumstances, operational requirements or to provide individual flexibility. Several IFAs have been negotiated and approved across the Museum.

At 30 June 2014, the Museum employed 234 staff consisting of 209 ongoing and 25 non-ongoing employees, which represented a full-time equivalent number of 207.29.

Total staff numbers 2005–2014

Financial year Total staff numbers
2005 263
2006 304
2007 292
2008 282
2009 284
2010 297
2011 266
2012 251
2013 262
2014 234

Attracting the right people

The Museum continues to promote diversity and strives to establish a staffing profile that is representative of the Australian community. The Museum employs a range of technical, professional and administrative staff and successfully competes for and attracts quality applicants for positions.

In 2013–14, the APS Interim Recruitment arrangements enabled the Museum to promote opportunities that enhanced staff access to capability development and cross-skilling.

Staffing by division as at 30 June 2014

Executive support 7 1 8
Operations 50 1 51
Collections, content and exhibitions 71 7 78
Audience, programs and partnerships 81 16 97
Total 209 25 234

Staffing by Australian Public Service (APS) level as at 30 June 2014

APS levelsMaleFemaleTotal
Principal Executive Officer (PEO) 1 0 1
Senior Executive Service (SES) B2 0 0 0
SES B1 2 2 4
Executive Level 2 3 14 17
Executive Level 1 13 23 36
APS 6 17 26 43
APS 5 10 28 38
APS 4 7 35 42
APS 3 2 12 14
APS 2 16 23 39
APS 1 0 0 0
Cadet 0 0 0
Total 71 163 234

Staffing by employment status as at 30 June 2014

Ongoing full-time PEO 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time PEO 1 0 1
Ongoing full-time SES 2 2 4
Ongoing full-time non-SES 48 94 142
Ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Ongoing part-time non-SES 12 51 63
Non-ongoing full-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time non-SES 6 7 13
Non-ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing part-time non-SES 2 9 11

Supporting and maintaining a high performance culture

The National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2012–14 requires all staff to participate in performance management discussions. In addition, the Australian Public Service Employment Principles require effective performance from each employee. Each year, every staff member develops a performance
agreement where the staff member’s goals are linked to team and organisational goals to ensure the Museum delivers on its strategic priorities. The process is also used as a tool to identify learning and development needs and to inform the Museum’s approach to capability development, talent management
and, more broadly, workforce planning.

In 2013–14, the Museum completed a review of the existing performance management process (Workplace Conversations) and implemented changes after extensive consultation with staff. A key focus of the revised framework is the promotion of a high-performance culture.

Sustaining a consultative culture

The Museum is proud of its consultative culture and has successfully embedded a consultation framework that provides all employees with the opportunity to be an integral part of the decision-making process. The Museum Consultative Forum, consisting of the Director, representatives appointed by the Director
and staff and unions representatives, oversees and engages on strategic issues impacting on the Museum. This forum is supplemented by a Workplace Consultative Committee that monitors and consults on operational matters affecting Museum staff.

The Museum also works closely with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) on all relevant matters affecting staff. A CPSU representative sits on the Museum Consultative Forum and the Workplace Consultative Committee.

Supporting workplace diversity

The Museum is committed to developing and maintaining a diverse workplace by fostering, recruiting and retaining a workforce that reflects, and makes the best use of, the diversity of the Australian community. The Museum aims to achieve this through the development and implementation of specific strategies
and, wherever possible, participating in Australian Public Service recruitment programs. The Museum has published a commitment to diversity statement on its website (

In 2013–14, the Museum developed a new Workplace Diversity Plan for 2014–18 in consultation with staff. The plan contains strategies for ensuring the Museum celebrates and values diversity, creates a fair and respectful workplace culture, and builds and retains diverse capabilities and experiences.

This year, progress has been achieved on a number of diversity initiatives, including:

  • ongoing, active support and return-to-work programs for ill and injured staff
  • ongoing support through Job Access for employees and job applicants with disabilities
  • creation of identified positions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • ongoing support for employees who may be the subject of bullying and discrimination
  • ongoing support for and promotion of the Indigenous Employee Network (MinMin) and related activities
  • a Disability Access audit for public areas and parts of the Acton administration building.

Museum staff diversity

GroupNo.% total staff
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 9 3.8
People with disabilities 8 3.4
People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 37 15.8
Females 163 69.7

Enhancing our leadership capability

In 2013–14, the Museum focused on developing individual leadership capabilities through coaching programs. Emphasis was placed on enhancing management capabilities to have tough conversations about poor performance and increasing management awareness of the impact of changing legislative requirements on their roles, including the amendments to the Public Service Act 1999, Fair Work Act 2009 and Privacy Act 1988 and the implementation of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2014.

Recognising levels of performance

Staff recognition at the Museum is usually expressed formally between those involved in individual performance management via the Workplace Conversations framework. This is a critical level of recognition, stressing the importance of having constructive conversations throughout the year that are aligned with strategic and business priorities.

To provide wider recognition of significant contributions and achievements by its staff, the Director presented Australia Day Achievement medallions to four employees who had made noteworthy contributions to the work of the Museum during the past year, or over a number of years. The recipients were Stephanie Bull, Kelee Robson, Stephen Quinn and Anne Faris. In addition, the inaugural Director’s Award for Excellence was presented to Dr Mike Smith in recognition of his quality of practice, achievement and organisational contribution to the Museum.

The Museum continues to present an annual Workplace Health and Safety Award and individual recognition and rewards are also noted at all-staff, divisional and team meetings. The award recipient for 2013–14 was Kelee Robson from the Learning Services and Community Outreach team.

The contribution of volunteers

This financial year 76 volunteers contributed 5455 hours to the work of the Museum, in areas such as curatorial, administration, education and special events. The Museum’s largest volunteer program supports the paddle steamer, PS Enterprise – the crew being drawn entirely from volunteers. This year the crew contributed 1624 hours, during public inspections and special events such as the Governor-General’s Centenary Family Picnic Day at Government House.

The Museum marked the 25th anniversary of National Volunteer Week in May by inviting volunteers from across Canberra’s cultural institutions to join the PS Enterprise volunteers on a cruise around Lake Burley Griffin, and providing free entry to its Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists exhibition. Museum volunteers took part in tours and activities offered by the other participating institutions.

Volunteers contributed to the Museum in the following ways:

  • Education: Thirty-seven volunteers contributed 2388 hours towards delivering the Museum’s Education programs, enhancing the students’ and teachers’ experience.
  • Family programs: Twelve volunteers contributed 205 hours during school holiday programs for families and provided assistance with festival days.
  • Library: One volunteer contributed 38 hours in assisting Library staff.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program: One volunteer contributed 121 hours in providing office assistance.
  • Records management: One volunteer contributed 144 hours scanning and organising files.
  • Curatorial: Three volunteers contributed 267 hours working on specific research projects.
  • Encounters project: Two volunteers contributed 97 hours working on specific projects for the upcoming exhibition related to the Encounters project.
  • Registration: Four volunteers contributed 348 hours making images in the Piction database more accessible.
  • Conservation: Four volunteers contributed 135 hours in assisting Conservation staff prepare for the Old Masters exhibition and upcoming Spirited exhibition.
Engineer and volunteer Joe Johnson keeping the PS Enterprise steaming on Lake Burley Griffin.
Engineer and volunteer Joe Johnson keeping the PS Enterprise steaming on Lake Burley Griffin

Educational and developmental opportunities

The Museum continued to be a sought-after venue for secondary and tertiary students seeking work experience, with a number of students undertaking work experience placements or undertaking internships with the Museum.

Promoting a healthy and safe workplace

The workplace health and safety (WHS) of all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors continued to be a priority for the Museum during 2013–14. This was exercised through the Museum’s well-established framework for WHS management, which includes:

  • WHS Committee meetings held every two months
  • health and safety representatives and deputies in each of the five designated work groups
  • targeted safety improvements
  • incident reporting and investigation
  • provision of timely information to employees via a dedicated intranet page and the use of dedicated display boards in staff areas.

The Museum continues to review existing WHS procedures and guidelines to ensure that they meet the requirements of the WHS legislation.

In 2013–14, the Museum continued to promote a healthy lifestyle through a wellbeing program for staff and volunteers. Some of the wellbeing initiatives undertaken during the year included voluntary health assessments, a flu vaccination program, health and wellbeing information sessions, regular lunchtime walking groups and lunchtime exercise groups.

Training for staff and volunteers is recognised as one of the key elements in achieving and maintaining a high standard of workplace safety. Training provided during 2013–14 year included:

  • online WHS training courses for all new employees
  • induction presentations for all visitor services hosts focusing on their WHS obligations to each other and to the public
  • ongoing recruitment and training of floor wardens, first aid officers, and health and safety representatives
  • manual handling training
  • hot fire training and building emergency evacuation exercises for all Museum buildings
  • coaching of staff in the development of risk assessments and safe work method statements, and the importance of proactive hazard and incident reporting.

The Museum continued to ensure that all contractors working on Museum sites received a site induction prior to commencing work. Site inductions are aimed at increasing contractor awareness of their WHS obligations and reducing the risk of injury and/or damage to collection items. The Museum identified, assessed and rectified several hazards in a functional and practical way that also took environmental and aesthetic aspects into consideration.

Advice on WHS issues also informs the exhibition and gallery development programs and other key projects. Input was provided at all stages of these projects, from design to installation.

There were a total of 38 minor injuries (those that require no medical treatment or only first aid treatment and include potential exposures to chemicals) and three serious injuries (those that require emergency medical attention by a doctor, in a hospital or in an ambulance) reported by staff, visitors or contractors during the year. There were also three dangerous occurrences (those incidents that could have, but did not, result in serious injury or death). The serious injuries and dangerous incidents were reported to Comcare. There were no fatalities or provisional improvement notices recorded during the year.

Category and number of reported incidents, 2009–14

Year Minor injuries Serious injuries Dangerous occurrences
2009–10 89 1 1
2010–11 98 5 8
2011–12 79 3 5
2012–13 53 2 5
2013–14 38 3 3


The Museum continues to prioritise the safety and security of visitors, staff, contractors and collections, including the National Historical Collection. This is achieved through a combination of controls and risk mitigation strategies, and by fostering a culture of security awareness. The Museum maintains a productive working relationship with security service providers, which is vital in enabling the Museum to achieve its business objectives, while retaining the flexibility required for its diverse programs and events. A range of significant projects were completed in 2013–14, including:

  • an independent review of the Museum’s security governance and personal security policies and procedures to progress towards compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework
  • replacement of the digital radio system to eliminate existing communication black spots, improve audio quality for guards and hosts, and achieve telecommunications compliance
  • targeted upgrades to the closed-circuit television (CCTV) coverage to improve the safety of visitors and increase guarding efficiency.

Indemnities and insurance

In accordance with Section 19 of the Commonwealth Authorities (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011, which requires reporting on indemnities and insurance premiums for officers, the Museum confirms that it has:

  • director’s and officers’ liability insurance cover through Comcover, the Commonwealth self-managed fund
  • not entered into any deeds of indemnity in relation to the director’s and officers’ liability.

The Museum reviewed its insurance coverage during the year to ensure that it remained appropriate for its operations.

Taking care of our environment

The Museum’s activities have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy, waste production, and the impact on local waterways, flora and fauna. The Museum is committed to the conservation of natural resources through ongoing improvements to its energy management program and the implementation of a number of other initiatives aimed at minimising environmental impact from its operations.

The Museum’s Environmental Management System (EMS) incorporates guidelines for all Museum activities to reduce its impact on the environment. It also promotes the management of energy, waste and water on all Museum sites. The EMS complies with ISO14001:1996 ‘Environmental management systems — specification with guidance for use’ and can be accessed by staff on the Museum’s intranet.

The Environmental Management Policy highlights the Museum’s commitment to operate within the principles of ecologically sustainable development wherever possible.

Monitoring and reviewing performance is integral to the Museum’s EMS. Ongoing reviews are carried out on targets and objectives to ensure the Museum’s operations continue to meet changing government requirements.

Reduction of energy consumption

The Museum continues to purchase 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and, in addition, has worked to reduce overall energy consumption through:

  • reducing energy consumption in high-consumption areas, such as the building’s thermal plant and environmental systems
  • commencement of the humidifier replacement project, which will reduce electricity usage and improve temperature and relative humidity controls in the gallery spaces
  • entering into a cross-cultural organisation gas contract to cap escalating costs, to start in 2015.


The Museum continues to recycle paper, cardboard, toner cartridges, and glass and plastic bottles from the administration areas, and encourage Museum visitors to recycle.

The Museum monitors and reports on the amount of waste to landfill, as a percentage of its total waste. In 2013–14 the Museum sent 40 per cent of its waste to recycling and is investigating options to continually improve this percentage. Initiatives in this area included commencing a program of recycling timber pallets and investigating the feasibility of waste recycling through worm farming.

Water use

Water usage has been reduced through the installation of hybrid, semi-waterless urinals in high-use public toilets, as well as dual-flush toilets and water-saving showerheads in leasehold buildings. The Museum uses meters installed in critical areas, such as cooling towers and the Cafe, to monitor water consumption.

Environmentally friendly cleaning practices

The Museum continues to use a new range of environmentally friendly cleaning products that feature readily biodegradable components, have very low or no toxicity, ultra-low volatile organic compounds, no phosphates or bleach, and concentrated formulas to reduce waste in both packaging and transport. The Museum also continues to use toilet paper and paper handtowels made from 100 per cent recycled material. These products are Australian-made and certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia.

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