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3.5 Corporate Governance

Figure 3.2 Corporate governance structure 2018-19This diagram details the corporate governance structure for the Library during the reporting period, including legislative requirements, the accountable authority, audit and governance committees and corporate and financial reporting.


The National Library Act 1960 provides that a council shall conduct the affairs of the Library. Council has 12 members, including the Director- General, one senator elected by the Senate and one member of the House of Representatives elected by the House.

At 30 June 2019, there were no vacancies on Council. Appendix A lists Council members and their attendance at Council meetings.

In 2018–19, in addition to general administrative, compliance and financial matters, Council considered a range of matters, including:

  • the Corporate Plan 2019–23
  • the 2019–20 budget, including the collections and capital works budgets
  • fellowships
  • Community Heritage Grants
  • new acquisitions
  • activities for the 50th anniversary of the National Library building
  • the Cook and the Pacific exhibition
  • the Public Service Modernisation Fund
  • the Library’s engagement with the Asia–Pacific region
  • updates on collection storage, the Australian Web Archive, the Library’s collecting strategy, activities for the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and the Trove Modernisation Program
  • the Library’s business continuity framework
  • performance reporting
  • the financial performance and planning strategy
  • the workforce and workplace strategy
  • the philanthropy review and strategy
  • Council’s evaluation of its performance.

In February 2019, Council and Corporate Management Group members participated in a one-day strategic workshop. Council members were briefed on the Library’s operating environment and considered three future scenarios with an increased focus on either collection management, access or collaboration. Council members explored different pathways and how to best position the Library for the future, with members reporting that it had greatly increased their understanding of the organisation.

Council has two advisory committees: the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee and the Governance Committee.


The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides advice to Council and the Director-General by independently reviewing the Library’s operations, its risk management and performance frameworks, and the integrity of its financial accounts.

The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee applies relevant principles from the Department of Finance’s A Guide for Corporate Commonwealth Entities on the Role of Audit Committees, December 2018. The committee reviews all internal and external reports relevant to the Library. External observers at committee meetings included representatives from the Australian National Audit Office and the Library’s internal auditor.

Details of Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee members, meeting attendance and Terms of Reference can be found at Appendix A.


The Governance Committee comprises three non-executive Council members and has the authority to coopt other non-executive Council members.

Appendix A lists the Governance Committee members. In February 2019, the committee met to consider the results of the 2018 Council Self-evaluation Survey, succession planning for Council, and the governance implications for changes to fundraising. In June 2019, it met to discuss the Director-General’s performance and remuneration and succession planning for Council.


The Library has a clear structure for identifying, assessing and mitigating risks and, through regular review, ensures that the framework reflects changes in better practice and in the Library’s operating environment. The Council, Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee and Corporate Management Group effectively engage with emerging risks and manage identified strategic risks. The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides independent advice to Council and the Director-General on Library risk and assurance frameworks. The Library regularly reviews risks at strategic, project and operational levels, including work, health and safety, information technology and fraud risks. The Emergency Planning and Business Continuity Committee oversees business continuity, emergency response and disaster recovery risk and response arrangements across the Library.

The Library is required to update its Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan every two years. This review commenced in May 2019. Fraud risk is incorporated into the overall review and embedding of the Library’s enterprise risk framework. Fraud awareness training is made available through an online program and all new staff are required to complete the course.


The internal auditor, Synergy Group Australia, reported to the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee on two audits in 2018–19, with a further two audits completed, and reports scheduled for the August meeting. The audits were a mix of compliance and performance assessments. The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee is provided with reports on the progress of the implementation of the audit recommendations.


During the reporting period, the Library made a joint submission to the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service with the National Museum of Australia and the Museum of Australian Democracy. The Library was also one of three agencies invited to meet with the APS Review team on 6 November 2018. The Director-General represented the Library at this meeting.

The Library made a submission to, and appeared before, the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on 16 October 2018 to discuss the potential of a major, well planned and supported oral history project as part of ‘truth-telling’ processes.

The Library also made a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Soft Power Review, focusing on the Library’s collections and services as soft-power assets.


Under subsection 22(1) of the PGPA Act, the Minister for Finance (Finance Minister) may make a government policy order that specifies a policy of the Australian Government that is to apply in relation to any or all corporate Commonwealth entities, including the Library, provided the Finance Minister is satisfied that the minister responsible for the policy has consulted the entity on the application of the policy.

There were no orders issued in 2018–19. The Library continues to report against the Finance Secretary’s Direction, issued in February 2016, that sets out minimum mandatory requirements for reporting performance information in the Portfolio Budget Statements.


The National Library of Australia operates from four buildings:

  • Parkes Place West, Canberra ACT 2600 (main building and administration)
  • 44 Tralee Street, Hume ACT 2620 (repository)
  • 64 Sheppard Street, Hume ACT 2620 (repository)
  • an office in the Australian Embassy in Jakarta (locally engaged staff).


In accordance with Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the Library adheres to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles, and works to mitigate the impact of its activities on the environment through a diverse program of waste minimisation, sustainability activities and appropriate targets for environmental performance. In 2018–19, the Library worked on a heating, ventilation and air conditioning masterplan for its Parkes building; and the design of a new HVAC system was completed in June 2019. ESD principles incorporated into the design include more efficient plant and equipment; broadened temperature and relative humidity parameters where appropriate; and a resilient system to allow for the impacts of climate change.

The Library and its surrounds are included on the Commonwealth Heritage List, and the Library is committed to the conservation of the heritage values of the building. Building art forms a significant component of the Library’s built heritage and, in 2018–19, the Library carried out conservation cleaning and treatment of the Tom Bass lintel sculpture over the front doors. Key Facilities staff participated in a Commonwealth Heritage Place Managers workshop at which the Library’s Heritage Management Plan was identified as an example of best practice. Throughout the year, the heritage values of the building were promoted via a number of heritage-specific building tours for members of the public and heritage professionals.


During the reporting period, the Library finalised all actions from the Work Health and Safety Corrective Action Plan that resulted from a regulator audit in 2017. This included the development and launch of the Framework for the Response and Management of Hazardous Substances within the Library.

Two notifiable incidents occurred in 2018–19, one related to medical treatment and the other to the removal of asbestos materials in the Library’s plant room. No further action was required by the regulator in either instance.

The Library monitors rehabilitation performance against a range of measures including time off work and adjustment of duties following an injury. To date, the Key Performance Measures for 2018–19 have been met or exceeded.

Refresher training was offered to the Library’s First Aid Officers and Health and Safety Representatives to maintain their skills. Library staff also undertook scenario-based, cross-institutional training (with staff from the National Film and Sound Archive and Australian War Memorial) on dealing with radioactive collection material as a first responder.

The Library also updated a number of policies and guidelines, including Confined Spaces, Safe Operation of Plant, Manual Handling, and Workstation Ergonomics.

There were no compensable claims submitted to Comcare in 2018–19. The Library’s premium rates for workers compensation since 2016–17 are shown in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Premiums for injuries suffered 2016–19 (as a percentage of wages and salaries)

Premium Rates (%)





Premium rates for the Library





Premium rates for all agencies combined (for comparison)





Library premium rates as a percentage of all agencies





Note: Includes rates as amended retrospectively by Comcare.


In accordance with section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, Table 3.2 is a summary of amounts paid by the Library to advertising agencies, market research organisations and media advertising organisations in excess of $13,800 (inclusive of GST) for non-recruitment and non-tender services. The Library did not pay for the services of any polling or direct mail organisations.

Table 3.2 Library expenditure on advertising and market research 2018–19



Value ($)

Coordinate Group

Media distribution services for the Cook and the Pacific exhibition


Gundabluey Research Pty Ltd

Evaluation of customer satisfaction for the Cook and the Pacific exhibition



Media monitoring services


Media Heads

Audio production for the Cook and the Pacific exhibition


Silversun Pictures

Video production for the Cook and the Pacific exhibition