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Building and Infrastructure

The National Gallery’s main building in Parkes, Canberra, was originally completed in 1981 and opened in 1982. Most of the building remains in its original form, although new extensions have been added including the Temporary Exhibitions wing (1996) and the new front entrance and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander galleries (2010).

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget the National Gallery received Phase 1 funding of $16.55 million through a new policy proposal. A further grant of $4.96 million was provided by the then Department of Communications and the Arts and the National Gallery contributed $4.0 million bringing the total Phase 1 program budget to a total of $25.5 million.

As of 30 June 2021, 21 of the 31 projects which make up the Infrastructure Program Phase 1 are complete. These projects improve safety and accessibility for visitors and staff at the National Gallery and the continued protection of the national collection relating to fire, security, electrical, mechanical and transport systems. The remaining projects include the replacement of boilers and dehumidifiers to continue to maintain suitable environmental conditions within the Gallery and roofing and glazing to solve well-documented water ingress issues.

The Gallery completed the relocation of the retail outlet from Level 1 in September 2020 to the Ground Floor to improve functionality and performance. The relocation has given the retail outlet more prominence and accessibility for visitors.

In March 2021 the Gallery completed the refurbishment and upgrade of the Temporary Exhibition Gallery's building fabric and infrastructure. An improvement was the installation of an LED lighting system that has had a significant impact on the presentation of exhibitions.

The security of the Gallery including the national art collection, its staff and visitors, continues to be a high priority. There were no significant security breaches throughout the year and the Gallery continues to monitor and assess its security risks, systems, procedures, policies, and practices.

As part of the Capital Works Program the Gallery has upgraded its security systems to deliver a fully integrated perimeter security, access control, and intruder alarm management system from one centralised platform.

Sustainable Environmental Footprint
The National Gallery has adopted a three-stage approach to developing its Environmental Sustainability Action Plan. Stage 1 involved an assessment of the National Gallery’s baseline energy emissions, waste generation and water consumption to determine the Gallery’s overall environmental impact and enable the establishment of a data-driven Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.

The Baseline Report was delivered in June 2021. It provides the National Gallery with a solid foundation to benchmark environmental performance and will be critical in identifying areas for improvement and driving future strategic decision making.

During Stage 2, a measurement model is being developed to enable the National Gallery to track its environmental performance against the established baseline. The measurement model includes ongoing data management and year-on-year reporting on emissions, waste and water sources to evaluate the impact of actions implemented via the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan. The measurement model is due to be completed in July 2021.

In Stage 3, the National Gallery will develop and implement an Environmental Sustainability Action Plan to identify actions to improve its performance against the established baseline. The Action Plan will include both short- and long-term targets to reduce emissions, water consumption and waste generation.

Installation view of Know My Name, Part 1, featuring Janet Laurence, Requiem, which explores recent environmental issues.
Installation view of Know My Name, Part 1, featuring Janet Laurence, Requiem, which explores recent environmental issues.