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Annual statements of expectations from the portfolio minister and statements of intent, in response from National Museum of Australia.

National Museum of Australia — 2018

Expectations for the National Museum of Australia in 2018–19 outlined by Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts

Mr David Jones
Chair
National Museum or Australia
GPO 11ox 190I
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear David

I am writing to you to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2018–19. The portfolio allocation for the Museum for 2018–19 is $47.876 million. This includes $3.1 million from the Public Service Modernisation Fund for the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre being delivered by the NMA and $2.728 million for public events and activities for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage.

Let me first acknowledge the achievements of the Museum so far in 2017–18, in particular the success of the Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition. I note that the exhibition was recently awarded the 2018 Museums and Gallery National Awards for Best In Show and this is testament to the efforts of the Museum to deliver world-class exhibitions with a focus on Indigenous storytelling.

More broadly, I acknowledge the efforts of the Museum and its Council in fostering a strong vision for the Museum as well as developing clear and achievable objectives for its operations. This will ensure the NMA remains one of the nation's pre-eminent cultural institutions and well placed to provide visitors with an exceptional experience of Australia's rich history and culture.

l anticipate that during 2018–19 the NMA will continue to perform its core function of bringing to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and events. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some strategic priorities that I ask the Museum to focus on in 2018–19.

These are:

  • Provide leadership in the management and use of national collections, and support lifelong learning through the delivery or experiences for all ages.
  • Develop partnerships and innovative delivery models lo take the Australian story to all comers of the nation.
  • Explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue.
  • Provide expert advice and contribute data on the NMA's performance and the sector to national reporting and planning.
  • Provide leadership in creating collaborative opportunities with the sector.
  • Continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies in line with our expectation that all departments and agencies assist the Government in its effective management of the Budget, including through the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre initiative.
  • Contribute to the Government's diversity and inclusion objectives including Closing the Gap, through programs, processes and Council membership.
  • Continue to contribute to the Government's cultural diplomacy outcomes within existing resources, with particular focus on Singapore, India, Indonesia, Germany and China.
  • Provide leadership in commemorations for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage to Australia, and seek opportunities to engage with broader Government priorities including the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.

I note that many of these areas are already being actively progressed. In particular the partnership with Gandel Philanthropy on the Defining Moments Digital Classroom initiative is a significant achievement which reflects the standing of the NMA as a major cultural institution and its importance in the life of our nation.

l encourage the NMA to continue to work cooperatively with my Department and other portfolio agencies in contributing to the Government's policy settings. I am grateful for the valuable contribution the Director of the NMA is making as the Australian Chair of the Australia Singapore Arts Group. Under Dr Trinca's leadership the group has been a highly effective mechanism for driving greater engagement with this strategically important regional partner. I also appreciate you alerting me to significant events related to NMA activities or functions.

l intend to schedule an annual meeting with you and the NMA's Director to discuss plans for the year. I suggest this could be held in advance of the next iteration of your Corporate Plan. This would provide a formal opportunity to discuss the NMA's plans as well as Government priorities.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the NGA's governance framework. As such, I would anticipate both being public documents. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to Dr Trinca.

l wish you every success in meeting your key outcomes and objectives for 2018–19 and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the Museum's current and future work in these areas.

Yours sincerely,

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
3 August 2018

National Museum of Australia — 2018

The National Museum's response to the Minister's Statement of Expectations.

28 September 2018

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications and the Arts
Suite M1.46
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 3 August 2018 outlining your expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2018–19.

On behalf of the Museum’s Council, I am pleased to respond to your Statement of Expectations with this Statement of Intent. The Council and the Museum’s Executive greatly value and appreciate your continued support. The Government’s funding commitment to the Museum will allow us to fulfil our mission and deliver important government priorities such as the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre (CCSSC) and marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia.

Our vision, mission and strategic commitments

The Museum’s vision, mission and strategic commitments are described in its Strategic Plan 2018–2022:

Our vision is to be a trusted voice in the national conversation, and recognised as one of Australia’s premier cultural destinations exploring Australia’s past, illuminating the present and imagining the future.

Our mission is to bring the world’s cultures to Australia and present Australia’s history and culture to the world. In pursuit of this goal, the Museum has developed its ambitious Master Plan 2017–2030.

Our strategic commitments are to invest, challenge, explore and connect across all aspects of our business.

Our focus over the next four years will be on five key streams of endeavour: Collections for the 21st century; Program directions; Digital futures; Growing our business; and Brand recognition.

The Strategic Plan confirms our role as a key national cultural institution and envisages a museum for the future. By adopting new technologies and innovative methods, and making our audience central to everything we do, the Museum hopes to bring Australian stories to as many people as possible, domestically and internationally. It focuses on identifying methods to ensure that we can continue to deliver our key functions successfully, including through public–private partnerships.

We have an ambitious program for the coming year. This is outlined in our Corporate Plan for 2018–2019, which describes key strategies and activities and our vision of what success will look like over the reporting period and into the future. The Strategic Plan and Corporate Plan are very much in alignment with the role and direction of the Museum as conveyed in your Statement of Expectations and our face-to-face meetings.

Our activities in support of your Statement of Expectations

The Museum will undertake a range of activities in FY2018–19 in support of your Statement of Expectations. Several of these are outlined below.

  1. Provide leadership in the management and use of our collections and support lifelong learning through the delivery of experiences for all ages
    • The Museum’s Collection Explorer project seeks to make as much of our historical collection available online as possible with 51% of our collection currently accessible digitally. In FY2018–19 we will aim to increase the number of objects digitised and released online by 12,500. A separate target has been set for accessioning objects, to reduce the backlog of collection items awaiting accessioning.
    • The design stages for the Discovery Centre will be completed and construction commenced by the middle of next year. The Discovery Centre will encourage young people to engage with the rich and diverse stories of Australia through play-based and hands-on experiences.
  2. Develop partnership opportunities and innovative delivery models to take the Australian story to all corners of the nation
    • The Museum has begun work on the Defining Moments Digital Classroom project, developed with the generous support of Gandel Philanthropy. The project is a comprehensive and accessible education platform aligned to the national curriculum that will allow students to explore Australian history through a range of digital products.
    • The Museum will pursue its relationships with significant cultural institutions at home and abroad including the British Museum and State and Territory museums such as the South Australian Museum and the Western Australian Museum. I am delighted to confirm that last week the Museum signed a new five-year partnership arrangement with the British Museum. Our partnership with the South Australian Museum has led to the development of a joint touring exhibition, Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia, which opened in Japan in September 2018.
    • A new Australian virtual reality film, The Antarctic Experience, will tour to the Museum in Canberra following its initial run at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The film’s rich and varied content is expected to be of particular interest to our family audience.
  3. Explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue
    • The Museum will continue to focus on increasing its own-source revenue. Our aim is to increase own-source revenue to be at least 20% of all gross operating revenues.
    • The 2018–19 target is to increase the Friends membership program by 50% compared to the previous financial year, while the target for corporate partnerships and philanthropy is a 20% increase. The Museum’s Council is pleased to see the Museum setting these ambitious targets in an effort to drive its performance.
    • The relationship with the philanthropic sector will continue to be cultivated, with the contribution from John Gandel AO and Pauline Gandel for the Defining Moments Digital Classroom demonstrating the Museum’s capacity to attract significant philanthropic investment.
  4. Provide leadership in creating collaborative opportunities with the sector and continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies
    • In addition to the collaborative projects already mentioned, the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre (CCSSC) will allow the Museum to continue to deliver high-quality corporate services to other cultural agencies, and assist the Government to manage the Budget effectively.
    • The CCSSC has had a strong response from the cultural agencies. It currently provides services to the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Portrait Gallery and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. It is looking to deliver new services to partner agencies in the coming year.
  5. Contribute to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives
    • Up to six new fellowships will be awarded under the Encounters Fellowships program. The program will provide Indigenous peoples working in the cultural or heritage sector — many from regional and remote areas — with professional development opportunities. Fellows will receive mentoring, learn new skills and build networks through tailored programs at the National Museum and partner institutions in Canberra, Sydney, the United Kingdom and France.
    • The Museum’s outreach and access program includes virtual tours and education programs for audiences around the country and overseas. One aspect of the program provides Australian schools in remote areas, and children undertaking education in a hospital setting, with the opportunity to digitally connect with the Museum and discuss our collections in support of their learning.
    • Our access programs targeting people with dementia and sensory stimuli issues, as well as our annual event celebrating the International Day of People with disability, are unique and effective ways for the Museum to contribute to the Government’s social inclusion objectives.
    • This year the Museum will start developing a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the Museum. The Stretch RAP aims to embed reconciliation initiatives into an organisation’s business strategies.
  6. Contribute to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes
    • In 2018–19 the Museum will tour exhibitions to Japan and China , with several venues secured in each country.
    • The Museum’s Director, Dr Mathew Trinca, will continue to co-chair the Singapore–Australia Arts Group.
    • The graphic panel displays developed by the Museum for use by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to be shown in Australian embassies and missions around the world.
    • Several Museum staff will travel to Vietnam later this year to deliver workshops to museum staff from cultural institutions across Vietnam, in a capacity-building program organised and funded by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi. Last delivered in 2016, the program may lead to other future collaborations including staff or exhibition exchanges and reciprocal programs.
  7. Provide leadership in commemorations for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia
    • The Museum is appreciative of the additional funding to deliver Endeavour 250 (working title), which promises to be a thought-provoking exhibition and series of public programs to mark this significant anniversary. Work has begun in earnest on Endeavour 250 with the Museum engaging with key Indigenous communities along the east coast of Australia and commencing the exhibition content and design process.

National Museum of Australia – 2017

Mr David Jones 
Chair 
National Museum of Australia 
GPO Box 1901 
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear David

I am writing to you to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia (NMA) for 2017–18. The allocation for the NMA in 2017–18 is $43.365 million. This includes $3.2 million from the Public Service Modernisation Fund.

Let me firstly acknowledge the achievements of the NMA in 2016–17, particularly the outstanding success of the History of the World in 100 Objects exhibition. I note that the exhibition is the most successful exhibition to be staged at the museum and this is testament to the efforts of the NMA to deliver world class exhibitions.

More broadly, I acknowledge the efforts of the Council in fostering a strong vision for the museum including clear and achievable objectives for its operations and consistent delivery of world class exhibitions.

I anticipate that during 2017–18 the NMA will continue to perform its core function of developing and maintaining a national collection of historical material. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some strategic priorities that I expect the NMA to focus on in 2017–18. These are:

  • Build on the success of the 100 Objects exhibition to pursue opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue.
  • Continue to progress redevelopment of the permanent galleries at the NMA.
  • Deliver the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre.
  • Consider opportunities for the NMA to contribute to the Government’s innovation agenda.
  • Contribute data on the sector and the agency’s performance to national reporting and planning, including through the next iterations of the artist survey and the audience participation survey.
  • Contribute to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives including Closing the Gap, through its programs, processes and council membership.
  • Continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies in line with our expectation that all departments and agencies assist the Government in achieving budget repair.
  • Contribute to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes within existing resources and with particular focus on China, Singapore, India, Germany and Japan.

I note that many of these areas are already being actively progressed, and thank you for the considerable work you have already done to implement efficiencies and streamline operations. In particular I acknowledge the leadership role of the Museum in developing the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre which will create longer term efficiencies by allowing the participating collecting institutions to focus resources on the delivery of core services and programs.

I encourage you to continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Communications and the Arts and other portfolio agencies in contributing to the Government’s policy settings. I also appreciate you alerting me to any significant events related to NMA activities or functions.

I intend to schedule an annual meeting with you and the Museum’s Director to discuss plans for the year. I suggest this could be held in advance of the next iteration of your Corporate Plan. This would provide a formal opportunity to discuss the Museum’s plans as well as Government priorities.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the Museum’s governance framework. As such, I would expect both to be public documents. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to the Director of the NMA, Dr Mathew Trinca.

Thank you for your ongoing stewardship of the NMA. I wish you success in meeting your outcomes and objectives for 2017–18.

Yours sincerely,

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
27 June 2017

National Museum of Australia – 2017

File No: 17/33

20 October 2017

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for the Arts
Minister for Communications
Parliament House
Canberra 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for meeting with Dr Mathew Trinca and myself on 31 August 2017 to discuss the intentions of the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in meeting your expectations of the institution over the course of the 2017–18 financial year.

I would like to reiterate our appreciation of your ongoing and continued support of NMA. The Museum’s Council and Staff are very grateful for your assistance and advocacy on their behalf and for the Government’s funding commitment to the organisation to enable it to fulfil its mission.

The NMA’s functions are set out in its enabling legislation, the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. Our purpose is to bring to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia, 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; and
  • delivering innovative programs.

The NMA endeavours to make the most advantageous use of the national collection in the national interest. The Museum brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through strong engagement with the nation’s varied communities and traditions.

Relationship with the Minister and the Department

The NMA will keep the Minister informed with accurate and timely advice on significant issues in its core area of business. The NMA will continue to engage closely with the Minister and the Department of Communications and the Arts: to deliver on the Government’s Modernisation and Innovation agenda; to provide qualitative and quantitative data for the development and reporting of key performance information for the NMA and the broader sector; and to maximise opportunities to contribute to other Government policy settings.

Delivering on the Government’s Modernisation and Innovation Agenda

The NMA is grateful for the additional Government funding of $2.29 million over the current and next two financial years that will enable the NMA to transform elements of its business to keep pace with technological developments and reach more Australians across the country. In particular, we believe this additional expenditure will help the NMA reach new audiences in regional and remote areas through our online services and travelling and touring programs.

Moreover, the injection of $8.9 million over three years to establish a Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre will allow the NMA to provide shared corporate and business services functions to other collecting institutions. In particular, it will ensure that we collectively can consolidate our information technology support services, and ensure our operations are efficient and cost-effective. We are committed to delivering the first stage of this program in 2017–18.

Delivery of core functions and strategic objectives for the year ahead

In response to your statement of expectations, I can assure you that the NMA will pursue the following strategies and activities in FY 2017–18, to drive visitation and audience engagement:

  • Delivering two major capital projects over the course of the financial year (redevelopment of the Main Hall and Forecourt renewal) that will transform the visitor experience of the NMA;
  • Bringing the stories of Australia to life through innovative exhibitions and programs, including the opening of the major exhibition Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters; and creation of digital education resources and experiences, and participatory programs;
  • Expanding digital access to the National Historical Collection to enable access through online engagement, and upgrading wireless infrastructure to provide improved performance, analytics and location services within the Museum to support digital and social media technologies for enhanced visitor experience;
  • Pursuing innovative and creative opportunities for visitor engagement and growth, building own-source revenue and fostering sustainable partnerships within the philanthropic, business and cultural sectors for shared benefit;
  • Contributing to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes through our international exhibition touring program and support of key international partnerships, such as the tour of the Indigenous exhibition Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists to China, partnering with the South Australian Museum to tour Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia to Japan, and supporting a range of arts and cultural activities recommended by the Australia-Singapore Arts Group;
  • Developing a Master Plan to guide the NMA’s future to 2030. The draft Master Plan dovetails into the Acton Peninsula Precinct Draft Structure Plan to outline possible futures for the Peninsula;
  • Contributing to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives through ongoing consultation and implementation of the NMA’s Diversity Action Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan;
  • Managing an active research and scholarship program that underpins the Museum’s programs through public debate and engagement. including the Defining Moments in Australian History project, the Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Scholarship program, and active participation in key conferences and symposia.

In each of these pursuits, the NMA recognises the need to manage its human and financial resources effectively through coordinated planning, benchmarking and performance measurement. In 2017–18 the NMA will continue to build corporate, commercial and evaluation skills across the organisation, to contribute to audience and revenue growth.

I look forward to the opportunity of discussing these activities and plans with you when we next meet, and feel confident that the NMA has an outstanding year of achievement ahead.

Yours faithfully,

Mr David Jones
Chair of Council

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