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3.5 Corporate Governance

Figure 3.2 Corporate governance structure 2019-20


Under the National Library Act 1960, the Library’s affairs are conducted by
the Council of the National Library of Australia. The 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 2020, there were no vacancies on the Council. Appendix A lists
Council members and their attendance at Council meetings.

In 2019–20, in addition to general accountability and governance issues
relating to compliance and finance, the Council considered a range of
matters including:

  • the 2030 strategic priorities
  • the Corporate Plan 2020–2024
  • digital futures for the Library
  • the Treasured Voices philanthropy strategy and its progress
  • the Public Service Modernisation Fund
  • the Library’s financial performance, including performance against the Portfolio Budget Statements
  • the collection development policy and the collecting strategy
  • the Library’s response to COVID-19
  • work health and safety updates
  • updates on facilities management and capital works projects, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system replacement; asbestos remediation; and roof replacement projects
  • fellowships.

The Library’s Council and Executive participated in a strategic planning
workshop to consider and define priorities to shape the Library’s future
direction. Priorities and actions are articulated in the 2020–24 Corporate Plan
and will shape longer-term organisational planning, with a 2030 horizon.

The Council has two standing sub-committees: the Audit and Enterprise Risk
Committee and the Council Governance Committee.


The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides advice to the 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 committee reviews all internal and external reports relevant to
the Library and receives presentations from external and internal auditors.

Details of committee members, including their qualifications, meeting
attendance and remuneration, are listed at Appendix A. The committee’s
charter is available at nla.gov.au/content/charter-of-librarys-audit-committee.


The Council Governance Committee comprises four non-executive Council
members and has the authority to co-opt other non-executive Council
members. The Council Governance Committee considered a range of
matters in the reporting period, including draft charters for the Council
and subcommittees.

Details of Council Governance Committee members are listed at Appendix A.


The Library has a clear structure for identifying, assessing and mitigating
risks. Through regular review, it ensures that the framework reflects
changes in practice and in the Library’s operating environment. The
framework supports the Council, the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee
and the Executive to effectively engage with emerging risks and manage
identified strategic risks. The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides
independent advice to the Council and the Director-General on Library risk and
assurance frameworks.

During the reporting period, the Library refreshed its enterprise risk
management framework, with a view to achieving a better integrated risk
management and accountability framework that supports high performance
at entity and business unit levels. Initial work, which began in mid-2019,
focused on identifying strategic risks and reframing risk categories and
risk appetite statements. Subsequent work was undertaken in 2019–20 to
revise the Library’s Risk Management Policy, guidelines, tools and templates.
The Library’s fraud control framework was also revised and a fraud risk
assessment completed.


The Library’s internal auditor, Synergy Group Australia, reported to the Audit
and Enterprise Risk Committee on three audits in 2019–20: performance
information, cybersecurity prioritisation and collection management. The
audits were a mix of compliance and performance assessments. The Audit
and Enterprise Risk Committee receives reports on the progress of the
implementation of audit recommendations. The Library also commissioned
a management-initiated audit to scope the extent of underpayment of
casual staff, which had been identified and self-disclosed to the Fair
Work Ombudsman as a contravention of workplace obligations and
industrial requirements.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) began fieldwork at the Library in
May 2020 as part of its follow-up performance audit of management of the
national collections (the National Film and Sound Archive is also included in
this audit). The ANAO is expected to report its findings in 2020–21.


The Library was called to appear before the Senate Environment and
Communications Legislation Committee, as part of the Budget Estimates
hearings, in October 2019 and March 2020. The Library did not make any
submissions to parliamentary committees or government inquiries in
the period.


In accordance with 17BE(d) and 17BE(e) of the PGPA Rule 2014, it is noted
that no government policy orders or ministerial directions were received during
this period.


The National Library of Australia operates from five 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)
  • National Archives of Australia, corner of Flemington Road and Sandford Street, Mitchell ACT 2911 (repository)
  • Australian Embassy in Jakarta (with locally engaged staff).


The Library’s Environment Network comprises staff who are committed
to improving the Library’s environmental initiatives. The network meets at
least biannually, and has established terms of reference and membership to
guide its work.

To gain a deeper understanding of international library practices for
offsite storage facilities, the Library’s Director, Facilities and Security was
awarded a staff travelling fellowship to visit the United States and Canada
to conduct research. This visit presented a number of ideas for constructing
environmentally sustainable passive storage facilities. Lessons from these
visits will inform the planning of a new offsite storage facility with a strong
focus on ecologically sustainable development principles. The Library’s
existing offsite storage facilities continue to operate passively, without reliance
on heating and cooling.

In a severe hailstorm in January 2020, the Library sustained significant
damage to the heritage copper roof, which now requires replacement.
Consultation on this significant project has begun with the Library’s heritage
consultant and the National Capital Authority, which is responsible for
planning in the Parliamentary Zone. A like-for-like replacement with copper is
considered the best option from a heritage and planning perspective. Careful
design and planning will be undertaken to ensure an appropriate roof profile
and design, in keeping with the heritage significance of the Library building.

Progress was made in 2019–20 on some of the works proposed in the
Library’s Conservation Management Plan. This included cleaning the external
travertine façade and repainting the heritage entrance to the theatre and main
reading room.


During the reporting period, the Library launched an updated version of its
work health and safety management system, which consolidated multiple
policies and procedures into a single document for practical use by all staff.
An independent audit of the new document confirmed its conformance with
regulatory requirements.

The main work health and safety (WHS) focus in early 2020 was responding
to multiple unprecedented events: challenging environmental conditions,
extreme weather and COVID-19. The Library developed an air quality protocol
in response to the impact of bushfire smoke in January and February. The
COVID-19 response included developing a pandemic plan, risk analysis, and
guidance and protocol documentation to ensure ongoing WHS compliance
and support of staff and visitors. WHS was a key consideration in the gradual
reopening of the Library once COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

Refresher training was delivered to the Library’s health and safety
representatives to maintain their skills. Several planned training courses with
face-to-face components have been postponed until COVID-19 restrictions
ease further. Staff wellbeing was supported through the delivery of influenza
vaccinations to more than 320 staff at an onsite online clinic in April 2020.
Three regulator-notifiable incidents occurred in 2019–20. In each case,
Comcare required no further action.

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 2019–20 have been met or exceeded.
Two compensable claims were submitted to Comcare in 2019–20. The
Library’s premium rates for workers compensation since 2017–18 are shown
in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Premiums for injuries suffered 2017-20 (as a percentage of wages and salaries)

Note: Includes rates as amended retrospectively by Comcare.

The National Library notes an error in the Annual Report 2018–19. Page 54,
paragraph 4 should read:

One notifiable incident occurred in 2018–19, relating to medical
treatment. During this period, the Library also worked actively with the
regulator by notifying Comcare of planned asbestos removal work.


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 $14,000 (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 2019-20


Under the PGPA Act paragraph 19(1)(e), accountable authorities are required to
notify their responsible minister when significant issues have been identified.

Table 3.3 Significant non-compliance with finance law