President’s Report—June 2018

National News Categories: 
Publish date: 
11 Jun 2018
Author: 
Jennifer O’Connell

New Editorial Team Member

I would like to say a big welcome from the AICCM National Council and membership to Rose Maurice, our new editor of the E-News! Rose is currently studying the Masters of Cultural Material Conservation at the University of Melbourne and has experience writing for publications such as Beat magazine. We look forward to working with Rose on continuing the work done by Ian Batterham as he takes a well-deserved break from the role. Ian continues in his role as Public Officer of AICCM.

AICCM Submission to Parliamentary Enquiry

AICCM National Council recently made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra's national institutions.[i] The inquiry, at time of writing, is still underway and uploading submissions to its website. The next hearing is scheduled for 22 June 2018. The AICCM submission is available from the inquiry page and also the AICCM website. [ii]

The AICCM submission aimed to draw attention to the importance of conservation and work of conservators to meeting the goals in the terms of reference. The terms and reference of the inquiry are:

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories will inquire into and report on the range of innovative strategies that Canberra’s national institutions are using to maintain viability and relevance to sustainably grow their profile, visitor numbers, and revenue, including:

1. creating a strong brand and online presence; 
2. experimenting with new forms of public engagement and audience participation; 
3. conducting outreach outside of Canberra; 
4. cultivating private sector support; 
5. developing other income streams; and 
6. ensuring the appropriateness of governance structures; and 

any other relevant matter the Committee wishes to examine, including the process for establishing new institutions.[iii]

The major concern raised in the AICCM Submission was that following the efficiency dividend the reduction of funding and staff in national institutions has created issues in continuing vital collection care services. This reduction in funding must be addressed so that the Inquiry’s strategies in the terms of reference can be explored.

Submissions have been made by a range of parties with differing ideas and arguments. A recurrent theme is a call for an end to the efficiency dividend and in some cases, restitution paid.  Heritage, Museums and Conservation Faculty at the University of Canberra outlined ways that the cuts to national institutions impacts on conservation training and opportunities for students.[iv] The Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc., states that,

The terms of reference of this Inquiry should be interpreted to comprehend the gravity of damage being done to the viability of Canberra’s national cultural institutions and thereby to focus on the basic needs to refurbish their importance and restore their statutory roles and adequate resource allocations, without the burden of the efficiency dividend.[v]

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) provides a detailed account of the consequences of the efficiency dividend in Canberra and makes four key recommendations:

Recommendation 1: The Government repairs some of the damage done with an immediate funding injection without restrictive caveats so that damage to core functions can be repaired.

Recommendation 2: The Government exempts the cultural collecting agencies from all future efficiency dividends.

Recommendation 3: The Government works with the CPSU to develop a funding model that recognises the unique characteristics of cultural institutions.

Recommendation 4: The Government ends the average staffing cap associated with its Smaller Government agenda, which is driving outsourcing and the use of labour hire.[vi]

The Friends of the NFSA also provide details of the results of funding cuts to the National Film and Sound Archives, and how these directly relate to the terms of reference. This submission also outlines recommendations for reversing the damage.[vii] Some submissions have called for centralised services, such as an Art station (ArtsCast Australia) across cultural institutions for promotion,[viii] a national natural history museum (the Australian Centre for Natural History),[ix] and a heritage research and analytical facility in Canberra.[x]

The Inquiry has provided a formal opportunity for the AICCM to voice concerns over the efficiency dividend which has had a major impact on its members. The arguments made by other submissions and information being collected provides a body of resources around this issue. We look forward to seeing the results of the Inquiry.

Congratulations to SLQ

The State Library of Queensland has released a wonderful series of videos on collection care. Well done to Rachel Spano and team on putting together the professional series. This is a fantastic resource available to the public, and one that all can refer people to when asked for collection care information.

http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/preserving-collections/preservation-videos

I hope that you enjoy this edition of the E-News!

Jennifer O’Connell
AICCM President
president@aiccm.org.au




[i] AICCM, Submission No 46, Joint Standing Committee on National Capital and External Territories, Parliament of Australia, Inquiry into Canberra’s National Institutions, 8 May 2018. At: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/National_Capital_and_External_Territories/NationalInstitutions

[iii] APH, Terms of Reference, Joint Standing Committee on National Capital and External Territories, Parliament of Australia, Inquiry into Canberra’s National Institutions, accessed 8 May 2018. At: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/National_Capital_and_External_Territories/NationalInstitutions/Terms_of_Reference

[iv] Heritage, Museums and Conservation program in the Faculty, Submission No 23, Joint Standing Committee on National Capital and External Territories, Parliament of Australia, Inquiry into Canberra’s National Institutions, 8 May 2018. At: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/National_Capital_and_External_Territories/NationalInstitutions/Submissions

[v] Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc. Canberra Chapter, Submission No 5, ibid.

[vi] Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Submission No 12, ibid. 

[vii] Friends of NFSA, Submission No 13, ibid.

[viii] Mr Jose Robertson, Submission No 19, ibid.

[ix] Mr Phil Creaser, Submission No 2, ibid.

[x] Heritage, Museums and Conservation program in the Faculty, Submission No 23, ibid.