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Taking care of people

The Museum recognises the value of our people and is committed to ensuring a supportive workplace culture that maximises individual potential for success.

The Museum values performance, innovation, creativity and diversity and, in 2014–15, it continued to develop workplace strategies and practices to support staff and enable them to achieve their best. These outcomes are evident in the Museum’s strong culture of staff engagement with and commitment to the organisational objectives.

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 limited number of individual Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), which were 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).

The IFAs 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 2015, the Museum employed 235 staff consisting of 202 ongoing and 33 non-ongoing employees, which represented a full-time equivalent number of 208.91.

Total staff numbers, 2005–15

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
2015 235

Attracting the right people

The Museum is proud of its diverse staff profile and continues to promote a culture where diversity is encouraged, supported and representative of the broader Australian community. The Museum employs a range of technical, professional and administrative staff and successfully competes for, and attracts, quality applicants for positions.

Since the introduction of the Australian Public Service interim recruitment arrangements in November 2013, the Museum has taken advantage of its limited ability to recruit external candidates to offer existing employees opportunities to enhance their capabilities through cross-skilling.

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, staff members develop performance agreements that link their goals with team and organisational goals to ensure that 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.

Staffing by division as at 30 June 2015

Executive support 7 1 8
Operations 43 4 47
Collections, content and exhibitions 73 5 78
Audience, programs and partnerships 79 23 102
Total 202 33 235

Staffing by Australian Public Service (APS) level as at 30 June 2015

Principal Executive Officer (PEO) 1 0 1
Senior Executive Officer (SES) B2 0 0 0
SES B1 1 3 4
Executive Level 2 5 15 20
Executive Level 1 12 23 35
APS 6 17 29 46
APS 5 12 24 36
APS 4 4 33 37
APS 3 3 12 15
APS 2 14 27 41
APS 1 0 0 0
Cadet 0 0 0
Total 69 166 235

Staffing by employment status as at 30 June 2015

APS levelMaleFemaleTotal
Ongoing full-time PEO 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time PEO 1 0 1
Ongoing full-time SES 1 3 4
Ongoing full-time non-SES 47 92 139
Ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Ongoing part-time non-SES 12 47 59
Non-ongoing full-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time non-SES 6 14 20
Non-ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing part-time non-SES 2 10 12
Total 69 166 235

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, staff and union representatives, oversees and engages with 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.

Supporting workplace diversity

The Museum continues to be 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 designed to promote a diverse workplace. The Museum has developed a Diversity Action Plan and established a Diversity Working Group to oversee implementation of diversity initiatives across the Museum.

The Diversity Action Plan contains strategies to ensure that the Museum celebrates and values diversity, creates a fair and respectful workplace culture, and builds and retains diverse capabilities and experiences.

This year, there has been progress 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 special measures and 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 Museum Indigenous Network (MINmin) and related activities
  • a disability access audit for public areas and parts of the Acton administration building
  • participation in NAIDOC week events.

In 2014, the Museum celebrated the success and recognition of the MINmin Indigenous network, which received a highly commended certificate in the inaugural APS Diversity Awards, Indigenous employment category. MINmin was established in 2013 to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in their roles at the Museum. The MINmin philosophy focuses on building community and networks. By integrating Indigenous values into the MINmin framework, the MINmin group provides social and workplace support for Indigenous employees.

Museum staff diversity

GroupNo.% total
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 9 3.8
People with disabilities 7 3.0
People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 41 17.4
Females 166 70.6

Enhancing our leadership capability

In 2014–15, the Museum focused on developing individual leadership capabilities through coaching programs. Emphasis was placed on enhancing management capabilities to have challenging conversations about performance and increasing management awareness of the impact on their roles of changing legislative requirements, including the amendments to the Public Service Act 1999, Public Service Classification Rules 2000 and obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Recognising levels of performance

Staff recognition at the Museum is 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 Museum staff, the Director presented the Director’s Award for Excellence and Australia Day Achievement medallions to six employees who made noteworthy contributions to the work of the Museum during the past year, or over a number of years. The Director’s Excellence Award recognises the quality of practice, achievement and organisational contribution of a Museum staff member. The award was presented to Ms Rebecca Coronel in recognition of her commitment to exhibition and gallery development, professionalisation of project management and leadership in a number of roles. The recipients of the Australia Day Achievement medallions in 2015 were Fiona Dalton, Belinda Carman, Donna Wilks, Sophie Jensen, Linda Puckett and Tina Brandt.

The contribution of volunteers

In 2014–15, 85 volunteers contributed 4904 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 of which is drawn entirely from volunteers. This year the crew contributed 1265 hours during public inspections and special events.

In 2014–15, long-term volunteer David Miles celebrated 25 years of volunteer involvement with the Museum.

The Museum again marked the 26th 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. Participants were also invited to a Q&A session with the curators of the exhibition The Home Front: Australia during the First World War. Museum volunteers took part in tours and activities offered by other participating institutions.

For the launch of Volunteering ACT’s ‘25 days of volunteering’ campaign on 10 November 2014, Nigel ‘Nige’ Johnson from the 104.7 Breakfast Show spent half a day volunteering in the Museum’s Library.

Volunteers contributed to the Museum in the following ways:

  • Education: Thirty-six volunteers contributed 1968 hours towards delivering the Museum’s Education programs, enhancing students’ and teachers’ experiences.
  • Family programs: Fifteen volunteers contributed 252 hours during school holiday programs for families and provided assistance with festival days.
  • Night at the Museum: Eight volunteers contributed 47 hours assisting staff with this popular Learning Services and Community Outreach program.
  • Curatorial: Five volunteers contributed 407 hours working on specific research projects. For the Encounters project, four volunteers contributed 438 hours working on specific projects for the upcoming exhibition.
  • Registration: Three volunteers contributed 337 hours working on the Piction database.
  • Friends: Three volunteers contributed 56 hours assisting with Friends programs.

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 internships at the Museum. The Museum provides study assistance to members of staff participating in a formal scheme of study.

Promoting a healthy and safe workplace

The Museum values the safety of all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors and proactively manages issues within the existing Safety Management Framework. In 2014–15, the Museum focused on building staff capabilities in work health and safety (WHS). Training for staff and volunteers is recognised as one of the key elements in achieving and maintaining a high standard of workplace safety and learning. Development opportunities relating to WHS in 2014–15 included:

  • 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 identification and incident reporting
  • training in effective writing of safe work method statements
  • training for Council members and managers in WHS legislation and responsibilities
  • asbestos awareness training.

The Museum continues to review the WHS management framework including policies, procedures, guidelines and practices. A WHS compliance audit was completed in 2014–15 and this will form the basis of ongoing improvements in health and safety across the Museum. Other initiatives that commenced in 2014–15 include:

  • a review of the incident reporting processes
  • exploration and development of an online workplace hazard inspection tool for health and safety representatives.

In 2014–15, 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, and regular lunchtime walking and exercise groups.

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 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 32 minor injuries (those that require no medical treatment or only first-aid treatment and include potential exposures to chemicals) reported by staff, visitors or contractors during the year, and no serious injuries (those that require emergency medical attention by a doctor, in a hospital or in an ambulance). There were also four dangerous occurrences (those incidents that could have, but did not, result in serious injury or death).

The dangerous incidents were reported to Comcare. There were no fatalities or provisional improvement notices recorded during the year.

Category and number of reported incidents, 2009–15

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
2014–15 32 0 4


The Museum is committed to providing an appropriate level of protective security, informed by security risk assessments, for the safety and protection of Museum visitors, staff, volunteers and contractors; the Museum’s collections; collection items on loan to the Museum; and the Museum’s assets, property and information.

In 2014–15, the Museum initiated a program of security enhancements, partly in response to the Australian Government’s raising of the National Terrorism Public Alert System level to High in September 2014, but also to update security policies, procedures and systems. This program is overseen by the Museum’s Security Committee, and reported as a standing agenda item to the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.

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 that the Museum’s operations continue to meet changing government requirements.

Reduction of energy consumption

The Museum purchases 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and has worked to reduce overall energy consumption by:

  • addressing energy consumption in high-consumption areas, such as the building’s thermal plant and environmental systems
  • completion of the humidifier replacement project, which will reduce electricity usage within the Museum’s thermal plant
  • reprogramming of mechanical plant and enthalpy systems, which should result in additional energy savings
  • continuing a cross-cultural organisation gas contract to ensure that the Museum is achieving best value with its energy contracts.


The Museum continues to recycle paper, cardboard, toner cartridges, and glass and plastic bottles from the administration areas, and Museum visitors are encouraged to recycle by utilising the bins provided.

The Museum monitors and reports to the Department of the Environment on the amount of waste to landfill, as a percentage of its total waste. In 2014–15 the Museum sent 40 per cent of its waste to recycling and is investigating options to improve this percentage. Initiatives in this area included establishing a program to recycle 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 monitors water consumption via meters that are installed in critical areas, such as cooling towers and the Cafe.

Environmentally friendly cleaning practices

The Museum continues to use a 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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