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POL-G-061, Version 1.0, 3 June 2020

1. Title

Diversity and inclusion policy

2. Introduction

The National Museum of Australia (the Museum) is a major cultural institution charged with researching, collecting, preserving and exhibiting historical material of the Australian nation. The Museum focuses on the three interrelated areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, Australia’s history and society since European settlement in 1788 and the interaction of people with the environment.

Established in 1980, the Museum is a publicly funded institution governed as a statutory authority in the Commonwealth Arts portfolio. The Museum’s building on Acton Peninsula, Canberra opened in March 2001.

3. Scope

3.1 Purpose

The Museum is committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace and public institution where all people are valued and recognised for their unique qualities, ideas and perspectives. The Museum values and respects all visitors, personnel and guests, acknowledging the positive difference.

The Museum seeks to foster a diverse workforce that reflects the broad spectrum of Australian communities for the mutual benefit of the Museum and the communities in which it operates.

A diverse and inclusive workforce has been proven to benefit the APS and organisations through innovation, creativity, problem-solving capabilities and individual and organisational productivity.

The Museum has committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workplace through the development and implementation of specific strategies under the guidance of the Australian Public Service Commission (the commission), and wherever possible participating in whole of Australian Public Service (APS) recruitment programs.

Through this policy, the Museum aims to:

  • celebrate and value diversity in everything the Museum does
  • support a fair and respectful workplace culture
  • promote building and retaining diverse capabilities and experiences.

3.2 Rationale

The Australian Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) and the Commissioner’s Directions supports Commonwealth agencies to establish diversity programs, implement affirmative measures during recruitment, promote the creation of a diverse and inclusive workforce, and develop programs to further the careers of people from diverse backgrounds.

The commission’s guidance material endorses the creation of specific action plans to assist Commonwealth agencies to employ people of diverse backgrounds.

4. Diversity at the Museum

In the APS, workforce diversity and inclusion mean valuing and respecting all employees. Diversity includes differences in:

  • age
  • language
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • sexual orientation and identity
  • cultural background
  • disability
  • religious beliefs
  • social and community responsibilities
  • caring and family responsibilities.

Workforce diversity also encompasses differences between individuals in educational level, life experience, work experience, socio-economic background and personality.

4.1 Commitment to diversity and inclusion

The following actions reflect and demonstrate the Museum’s commitment to diversity and inclusion:

  • The Executive Management Group will regularly review and endorse the Museum’s diversity targets and associated initiatives, within the plans for gender (see 4.2), reconciliation (see 4.3), and disability access (see 4.4).
  • Information on the Museum’s performance against endorsed diversity targets will be included in the annual report.
  • Facilitate fair opportunities for a wide candidate pool for all recruitment, based on competence, performance and potential by:
    • basing employment decisions on the principles of fairness, equality and equity for all applicants
    • engaging and retaining a workforce with broad experiences, backgrounds and leadership styles
    • increasing gender equity across all roles of each business unit and focus on non-gender language in all communication
    • increasing representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all levels across the Museum.
  • Offer flexible work practices across the Museum.
  • Initiatives to support family-friendly work practices for both men and women (for example, paid parental leave and encouragement of flexible working).
  • Assist program managers and supervisors to improve their capability in managing diverse teams and creating more inclusive working environments.
  • Supporting program managers and supervisors to embed flexible work practices through resources and training.
  • Providing resources and training to all employees to better understand the principles of inclusion and cultural capability.
  • Ensuring the principles of diversity, inclusion and cultural capability are utilised when conducting key people processes, including leadership plans, recruitment, performance management, learning and development, recognition and reward programs, and procurement.
  • Building an environment where employees can be themselves by proactively addressing issues, including inappropriate workplace behaviour such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, victimisation and vilification.

The following plans have been created with the guidance and priorities outlined by the commission.

4.2 Gender equality action plan

Gender equality in the workplace is achieved when all employees are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender or sexual identification or orientation. The primary aim of this plan is to develop a workplace culture where staff feel valued and included irrespective of gender or sexual identification or orientation.

The Museum’s Gender equality action plan (GAP) focuses on areas of employee-identified greatest need, with the intention of shifting from compliance to strategy, embedding gender-equality values and behaviours as part of a defined and communicated culture. To achieve this, the Museum will focus on:

  • establishing and promoting the business case for gender equality at the Museum at all levels
  • improving gender composition and balance
  • embedding flexibility and gender equality into the Museum culture, encouraging collaborative solutions to individual employee needs where practicable.

The GAP can be found on the Museum’s website as part of corporate information.

4.3 Reconciliation framework

The Museum’s Reconciliation framework consists of four related documents, and includes this Diversity and inclusion policy. The Reconciliation framework was developed utilising the talents, enthusiasm, experience and skills of people across the organisation. It is championed by all members of the Executive.

The Reconciliation framework implementation group has representation from across all the divisions of the Museum and includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people.

In addition to this Diversity and inclusion policy, the other three policies are:

4.3.1 Reconciliation action plan

The Museum’s Reconciliation action plan (RAP) is structured around five interwoven commitments that build upon foundations established in our innovate RAP and are linked to our key streams of endeavour. These commitments continually drive the Museum to improve and guide it towards its vision for reconciliation.

4.3.2 Indigenous employment strategy

Central to the Museum’s role as a national institution is its focus on meaningful engagement with all Australians in the telling of their stories, and its commitment to the history and cultures of the First Australians. Increasing the Museum’s First Australian workforce recognises the need to take action to improve the representation of Australia’s first peoples in its workforce, for the mutual benefit of the Museum and the communities in which it operates.

4.3.3 Indigenous cultural rights and engagement principals and policy

The aim of these principles and policy is to recognise that Indigenous stakeholders have rights in their cultural heritage, also known as Indigenous cultural and intellectual property (ICIP) rights. The principles and policy set out in detail the principles in practice that guide how the Museum engages with Indigenous stakeholders about these rights in the range of the Museum’s activities, including acquisitions, exhibitions, research and other Museum programs.

4.4 Disability access plan

The Museum is working to give people living with disability more ways to connect with the Museum’s physical and online spaces, drawing on the wealth of knowledge shared by visitors and employees with lived experience of disability or other impairment.

The Disability access plan (DAP) consolidates earlier policies and practices and demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to constantly improve and measure community inclusion, along with the accessibility of our buildings, exhibitions, services and employment.

The DAP is built around principles that ensure that the Museum is accessible to all visitors and employees through the following:

  • The Museum is physically accessible.
  • The Museum’s exhibitions are accessible.
  • The Museum’s public and education programs are accessible.
  • The Museum’s collections are accessible.
  • The Museum is digitally accessible.
  • The Museum will actively listen and engage stakeholders to integrate access in all its work.
  • The Museum’s policies and procedures will reflect best practice.

The Museum will continue to work with stakeholders to integrate accessibility into its work and will seek to ensure policies and practices reflect best practice in Australia and internationally, as appropriate.

The DAP can be found on the Museum’s website as part of corporate information.

5. Building a culturally inclusive Museum

The Museum will build the cultural capability of individuals and the workforce by:

  • supporting staff to increase their awareness and thoughtfulness of their own cultural beliefs and practices
  • building the knowledge and understanding of cultural belief and practices of others we work and collaborate with
  • encouraging discretion and self-regulation of individual beliefs and practices in the workplace
  • ensuring all have a strong feeling of security and acceptance to voice, and accommodate their own and others cultural beliefs and practices.

The cultural capability of all Museum staff and volunteers will be built through programs and training, such as the Museum’s LearnHub portal, e-learning, workshops, webinars, and employer and employee support, and champions networks within and external to the workplace.

6. Definition of responsibilities

Museum Executive

The Museum Executive shall champion the Museum’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce, establishing the Museum as an employer of choice within the APS; not only to meet its legislative requirements but also its social responsibilities.

The Museum’s Executive shall actively support the implementation of the plans outlined in this policy by:

  • attending regular meetings to discuss ideas and determine implementation of actions for each plan
  • promoting and approving aims and actions for each plan within their division’s business unit plans
  • ensuring funds are available for business units to meet the commitments of all plans
  • endorsing decisions of committees to meet the aims and goals of plans.

Museum employees and volunteers

Employees and volunteers of the Museum shall ensure they are aware of the plans outlined in this policy and actively support and participate in the implementation of their commitments through their advice and guidance from their lived experience of diversity.

7. References

Diversity Action Plan
Gender Equality Action Plan
Disability Access Plan
Reconciliation Action Plan
Measuring Social Inclusion Index 2019 Report — Inclusive Australia

8. Implementation

8.1 Coverage

This policy applies to all Museum employees and volunteers.

8.2 Other related policies

POL-G-049 Reasonable adjustment policy
POL-G-052 Guidelines on preventing bullying and harassment
PRO-008 Assistance animal and disability aid guidelines and procedures
PRO-015 Code of conduct guidelines and procedures
Gender equality action plan
Reconciliation action plan
Disability access plan

8.3 Exclusions

This policy does not apply to Museum contractors or their employees.

8.4 Superseded policies

This policy supersedes:

Former policy/is title Version number Version date Council approval date
POL-G-027 Cultural diversity policy 2.2 20 Apr 2011 22 May 2005

8.5 Monitoring

This policy will be reviewed by the Access, Inclusion and Wellbeing Officer by June 2023.






Version date

3 June 2020


General operational

Approval dates

Approved by Executive Management 2 June 2020




Public and all staff


Aboriginal, culture, disability, gender, inclusion, Indigenous, orientation, religion, Torres Strait Islander, women, reconciliation, orientation

Responsible officer

Access, Inclusion and Wellbeing Officer



Review date

June 2023

Related documents

Disability access plan
Gender equality action plan
Reasonable adjustment policy
Reconciliation framework
Reconciliation action plan
Indigenous employment strategy
Indigenous cultural rights engagement principles and policy


National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
Tel: (02) 6208 5000

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