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Strategic priority 4: A sustainable and thriving future

Our organisational culture will enable MoAD and its valued staff to be nimble, collaborative and efficient. Our actions and relationships will ensure ongoing relevance and financial sustainability.

An efficient, motivated and empowered workforce

In 2018–19, the museum provided a range of learning and development opportunities for staff and volunteers. The museum participated in cross-agency staff development programs, giving staff an opportunity to form relationships with people in other institutions, enhancing staff members’ professional networks and career prospects, and resulting in the sharing of knowledge and experience across multiple institutions. The programs included:

  • the Council of Australasian Museum Directors Executive Mentoring Program, in which one museum staff member participated
  • a cross-institutional mentoring program (a partnership with six cultural agencies), in which seven staff members participated.

LearnHub learning management system was implemented for use by all staff members, with a course calendar which contains thousands of e-learning courses and a number of standard APS courses on topics such as privacy, APS values, diversity and fraud. In-house courses for heritage training are in development, with other agency-specific courses to follow.

Agile methodology training was held during December 2018 for all members of the Digital Infrastructure Program Working Group. This training covered the principles of agile digital transformation and was delivered by an external provider.

Each year, all staff members are required to attend mandatory training on a range of topics, to update their knowledge of the issues and their own responsibilities.

Three employees were funded to attend the Australian Museums and Galleries Association annual conference, which was held in Alice Springs with the theme of Our People, Our Places, Our Practices.

The Workplace Consultative Committee, which meets four times a year, provided a forum for consultation on organisational change and other issues in 2018–19.

The museum benchmarks and measures staff satisfaction levels each year, following the release of the annual Australian Public Service Commission State of the service report. In 2018–19, the museum’s survey indicated that staff engagement, wellbeing and innovation results were extremely high across the museum. The museum’s position within the whole-of-APS results is in the top five for those categories.

The museum’s volunteer cohort is currently 69 guides and 20 youth volunteers. Our experience with our first intake of youth volunteers has been very rewarding, with new processes implemented to streamline on-boarding, training and peer mentoring. In addition to conducting daily free tours for a total of more than 16,800 visitors during 2018–19, our volunteers contributed more than 150 voluntary hours over four nights in support of Enlighten, and more than 40 hours in support of our The Great Easter Egg Trail event. Visitor feedback about our volunteer tours continued to be overwhelmingly positive.

 MJ Logan
Representatives of the Henry Parkes Foundation presenting a generous donation to the museum to Director Daryl Karp. Photo by: MJ Logan
Financial sustainability

Long-term financial sustainability is a key focus for Old Parliament House. Since becoming a corporate Commonwealth entity in 2016, Old Parliament House has generated revenue from new sources, enabling it to invest in its strategic priorities.

In 2018–19, Old Parliament House generated $2.4 million in own-source revenue, overall a slight reduction of 3 per cent from 2017–18, and received $19.4 million in government funding for the operations of the museum and the costs associated with preserving the national heritage building.

In 2018–19, the own-source revenue was generated by:

  • charging admission fees and tickets for specialist tours (a 15 per cent increase)
  • investing available funds into interest-bearing deposits (a 116 per cent increase)
  • renting additional areas in the building (a 10 per cent decrease, due to a short-term tenant moving out)
  • seeking out sponsorships, grants and donations (a 63 per cent decrease, due to the timing of receipt of a major sponsorship)
  • providing a retail offering to meet the needs of visitors (a 30 per cent increase).

Government funding is directed towards key operational priorities and important capital works for improved physical access and the preservation of the building. Internal governance structures ensure that the funding is used for activities that contribute to the museum’s longevity.


The museum has a strong community of financial supporters that believe in us and the future of Australian democracy. During 2018–19, we further developed and maintained our relationships with partners, with a focus on extending our reach, relevance, research, visibility and viability. This includes ensuring financial sustainability to deliver an increasing range of thought-provoking exhibitions, programs and events.

Key activities included partnering with:

  • the Australian National University, to deliver the First Nations Governance Forum held at Old Parliament House during July 2018
  • the Canberra Writers Festival, to provide a venue for events and host a session titled ‘A woman’s place … is in the House’, featuring Anne Aly MP, Margaret Reid AO, Rosemary Follett AO and Susan Ryan AO and moderated by ABC journalist Emma Alberici, in August 2018
  • the Department of Home Affairs, to hold a citizenship ceremony in King’s Hall and a youth forum in the chambers to mark the beginning of celebrations of 70 years of citizenship, on 17 September 2018
  • the Australia Council for the Arts, to support Angelica Mesiti’s 2019 Venice Biennale work, Assembly, which was partially filmed on location at Old Parliament House in October 2018
  • the United Nations Information Centre Canberra, to host a flag-raising ceremony and a reception in King’s Hall attended by diplomats, government officials and representatives of United Nations organisations, combined with the launch of the #UDHRquilt Project exhibition, to celebrate United Nations Day on 24 October 2018
  • the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to host the Prime Minister’s Drought Summit, attended by senior cabinet ministers, state premiers and territory chief ministers, and industry representatives, on 26 October 2018
  • the Henry Parkes Foundation, to provide the venue for the 2018 Parkes Oration, which was delivered by Professor Megan Davis, speaking on Indigenous recognition, constitutional change and a future Australian republic, on 28 October 2018
  • the National Museum of Australia, to launch the Culture Loop shuttle bus, which travels to 10 cultural attractions and places of interest in Canberra—this free service has amassed over 29,000 trips with a 91 per cent satisfaction rating among passengers since its launch in December 2018
  • the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, to launch a new initiative, Democracy 2025, which delivered events including public talks with international speakers, and a discussion on what the APS can do to help bridge the trust divide.

Enabling systems

The museum’s Digital Infrastructure Program commenced during 2018–19, with a broad program of work to transform our digital infrastructure and innovate the museum experience. The program will establish a robust, scalable and sustainable digital infrastructure base that will serve as the museum’s digital backbone into the future, enabling enhanced visitor experiences, strategic management of data and improved operational efficiencies.

The Digital Infrastructure Program incorporates the development of a number of enabling systems to support the museum’s current and future digital needs. Systems improvements that are currently in development include:

  • acquiring a customer relationship management solution—the museum will partner with an external company that will build a system to meet the needs of the museum
  • redeveloping the intranet—teams and individuals across the organisation have identified what they require from the intranet and a draft structure for a new intranet has been tested via a quiz distributed to all staff; the new intranet is expected to be released in late 2019
  • upgrading trail radio-frequency identification—the first four milestones of a project to upgrade and future-proof the radio-frequency identification for schools learning trails have been completed.