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Strategic goals

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Artist Unknown Meriam people Mer (Murray Island) stone shark 19th century

Artist unknown
Meriam people
Mer (Murray Island) stone shark
19th century

Click image to enlarge

Strategic Plan 2004–2007


The National Gallery of Australia’s strategic plan for 2004–2007 builds on previous achievements and sets goals for the next three years. Our emphasis remains on ensuring that the Gallery continues to serve the cultural needs of the Australian public locally, nationally and internationally.

The plan has been developed in consultation with Gallery staff who will now work towards realising the goals we have set. The goals centre on developing, managing and enhancing access to and research about the national collection.

The Gallery Council and the Gallery staff are enthusiastically committed to achieving our ambitions as expressed in this strategic plan.

Harold Mitchell AO


The National Gallery of Australia (the Gallery) is a Commonwealth Authority, established under the National Gallery Act 1975.

Access to works of art in the national collection is provided through world class displays and exhibitions at the Gallery, located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, and is made available nationally and internationally through outward loans and travelling exhibitions. Access to information about the national collection is available on the Gallery’s website, through its many scholarly, promotional publications and through a range of educational public programs.

The Gallery exists within the context of other national, state and territory cultural institutions; maintaining and extending relationships through its exhibitions and loans program and through establishing partnerships with regional galleries and museums throughout Australia to enhance access to the national collection to better serve the Australian people.

The strategic plan for 2004–2007 continues the direction outlined in the 1999–2001 Corporate Plan, Into the new millennium, and the 2001–2004 Strategic Plan and builds on our achievements, as outlined throughout the plan.


The purpose of the Gallery is to serve the Australian public by enhancing understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts. It will serve the public through the effective and efficient use of the national collection, which will be developed, researched, preserved, displayed, interpreted, promoted and complemented with exhibitions and loans. The Gallery aims to provide access to and information about works of art, locally, nationally and internationally.

This purpose is consistent with the National Gallery Act 1975, which directs the Gallery to:

  • develop and maintain a national collection of works of art;
  • exhibit, or to make available for exhibition by others, works of art from the national collection or works of art that are in the possession of the Gallery; and
  • use every endeavour to make the most advantageous use of the national collection in the national interest.


Our vision is the cultural enrichment of all Australians through access to their national art gallery, the quality of the national collection, the exceptional displays, exhibitions and programs and the professionalism of our staff.


The strategic plan underpins the Gallery’s importance to all Australians. The Gallery will deliver on its national role by working collaboratively with other cultural institutions, including state, regional, university galleries and museums, artists, organisations promoting the visual arts and other stakeholders, through greater use of technology to communicate with the public in order to improve their access to the national collection.

Strategic planning context

This strategic plan maps the goals, key strategies and direction of the Gallery for 2004–07. Annual plans, strategies and supporting actions, against which outputs and performance are measured, will be developed from the strategic plan.

Risk management and compliance with relevant government legislation and policies are an integral part of the Gallery’s planning and operations.


The Gallery receives funding from the Australian Government, which we supplement through commercial activities, grants, sponsorship, gifts and bequests. The Gallery receives gifts of works of art from benefactors through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. The National Gallery of Australia Foundation also generates gifts of cash and works of art.


Over the next three years, the Gallery will realise its vision through the achievement of eight goals. The goals centre on developing, managing and enhancing access to the national collection, improving the environment for visitors and staff and strengthening the Gallery’s resource base.

Performance reporting and accountability

We monitor our performance on an ongoing basis through reports to the Gallery Council and we are accountable to all Australians through our Annual Report to the Australian Parliament, as required by the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. The Gallery’s executive is required to participate in Senate Legislative Committee hearings as part of the government’s annual budget cycle.

The Gallery provides acquittals of activities (exhibitions, scholarships, etc.) supported by grants and sponsorships from public authorities, private foundations, corporate patrons, etc.

Our recent achievements

We are a young institution that, in recent years, has been particularly focussed on acquiring premium works to strengthen the national collection.

Our increased acquisition funds from government have been complemented by increased contributions from private donors, members of the Gallery Council and the National Gallery of Australia Foundation. The Gallery received a number of major bequests for the purchase of works of art, totalling over $20 million. This generosity has improved substantially the Gallery’s ability to build the national collection.

Our new acquisitions have attracted worldwide requests to borrow works of art, and have created media attention, sparking much comment and intellectual debate.

During 2001–02, the Gallery jointly purchased with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery an historically important painting by John Glover, Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point 1831–33; the first cooperative venture of this kind between major Australian museums.

We successfully negotiated with government to raise the threshold at which acquisitions require ministerial approval from $450,000 to $10,000,000 — effectively removing the acquisitions program from the political process.

Images of significant works of art acquired recently can be found throughout this document.

Strategic goals