Visitor services
Formal complaint

Process stages

A complaint may be lodged in person, via telephone, electronically or sending a letter or form. There are various complaint channels.

The stages in submitting a formal complaint are as follows:

Stage 1 - Lodgement

  • The complainant advises, orally or in writing, their complaint to the Complaints Coordinator.  An acknowledgement will be sent to the complainant within 5 working days of its receipt. In most cases the NGA will resolve the complaint within 15 working days of receipt.   If this is not possible, an update will be provided to the complainant as soon as possible specifying the likely time frame for resolution.
  • Complaints will be registered and acknowledged by the Complaints Coordinator in the Governance and Reporting Section before being forwarded to the relevant Senior Executive Team member who will identify an appropriate action officer.  The Senior Executive Team member will use his/her discretion to determine whether the complaint should be brought to the Director’s attention. 
  • If the Senior Executive Team member considers the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, he/she will advise the Complaints Coordinator of this assessment, and the reasons.  The Complaints Coordinator will then seek the Deputy Director’s approval to dismiss the complaint and advise the complainant accordingly.  The decision to dismiss a complaint as frivolous or vexatious cannot be made without the decision maker ensuring they have a complete understanding or the nature, scope and extent of the complaint.  This may include seeking additional information from the complainant.

Stage 2 - Assessment

  • The complaint will be assessed according to the circumstances and the available evidence.  The person making the complaint may be contacted for more information if necessary, and if the complaint is not made anonymously.
  • Gallery staff against whom a complaint is made will be provided with all details of the allegation, and their comments sought.
  • A response to the complaint will be provided to the complainant outlining any actions to be taken.  The response will detail the reasons for the decision.  A copy will also be provided to the subject of the complaint.

Stage 3 - Review

  • If the complaint has not been resolved satisfactorily, the complainant may apply to the Director for a review to be undertaken.  Depending on the circumstances, the Director may appoint a Review Officer.  A review must be requested within 28 days of the complainant receiving the response. 
  • Other rights of review include the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, if relevant to the nature of the complaint.   These avenues would normally only be pursued after all other avenues have been exhausted.


The Complaints Coordinator
Governance and Reporting Section
National Gallery of Australia
GPO Box 1150

If the complaint is about the Complaints Coordinator, the complaint should be forwarded to the Gallery’s Assistant Director at the same postal address above, or telephone (02) 6240 6439.