Corporate management activities within the Library aim to maximise service to clients through the realisation of the full potential of staff and other available resources. In 2011–12, activities were focused on the development of requisite people skills, effective management supported by a range of tools and a safe, healthy and sustainable working environment. A major focus has been the main building, which is required to meet access and storage demands associated with a large and diverse national collection and public facility. Through participation in the Corporate Management Forum, the Library also played a part in corporate management across other collecting and portfolio agencies, displaying a supportive, collaborative and cooperative working style to other organisations.

People Management

Last financial year, it was planned that a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) would be in place by mid-2011. A ‘No‘ vote from staff on a draft EA meant that negotiations continued for some additional months. By the end of 2011, the Library had secured an EA that was strongly endorsed by staff and formally approved. The new EA has a nominal duration until mid-2014 and includes a Christmas operations and closedown provision (traded off against a slightly longer working day). The Library also implemented some affordable, modest steps to improve the pay relativity of staff and, importantly, undertook some significant projects to enhance the Library’s effectiveness and efficiency, resulting in the payment of a one-off productivity dividend to staff in June 2012.

Workforce Planning

To complement the Library’s strategic directions, a Strategic Workforce Plan is developed triennially. In this reporting period, the three-year plan for 2009–11 concluded and a new plan for 2012–14 was developed.

The Strategic Workforce Plan (2012–14) identifies three priorities aimed at focusing the Library’s decisions and resources on the increasing workforce demand for digital competencies and technological confidence. They are:

  • building responsiveness to change and emerging digital opportunities
  • building internal capability
  • enhancing career and operational sustainability.

The focus in the final year of the former plan had been on finalising the development and use of consistent selection criteria in recruitment processes, improving workforce diversity, implementing an employment brand for the Library and increasing competency training in web technologies.

As in previous years, the Library’s Workforce Planning Committee met quarterly to review and monitor the relevance and effectiveness of the Strategic Workforce Plan and of particular initiatives. The Library’s Council also considers annually a report on workforce planning and paid particular attention to the progress of the Strategic Workforce Plan, scrutinising the workforce profile data and examining the Library’s employee data in comparison with other Australian Public Service (APS) agencies.

The comparative APS data arises from Library staff who participated in the annual APS Commission State of the Service employee survey. Overall, the results reflected a positive work environment. The results are also monitored by the Workforce Planning Committee and used to inform decisions about Library staffing matters. This year, it was noted that staff showed a high level of job satisfaction, satisfaction with Library management and a strong sense of pride in working at the Library.

Staff Engagement

The Library’s Consultative Committee continues to play an important role, as highlighted during the EA negotiations. The committee monitored the EA’s option to pay a productivity payment to staff upon substantial completion of some strategic positioning projects. Other major issues that the committee considered included:

  • energy and environment management
  • parking arrangements in the Parliamentary Zone
  • a review of IT client support services
  • prevention strategies for bullying and harassment
  • monitoring the number of Individual Flexibility Arrangements, whereby individual members of staff have varying employment conditions relating to remuneration, leave and hours of attendance.


In accordance with the Australian Government’s regime for Principal Executive Officers, the Council determines the Director-General’s remuneration. At 30 June 2012, terms and conditions of employment, such as non-salary benefits including access to motor vehicles and mobile phones for senior executive service (SES) staff, continued under common law contract.

At 30 June 2012, ten non-SES staff had enhanced benefits through Individual Flexibility Arrangements.

Table 2.3 shows the salary ranges for classifications below SES level and the number of employees at each level.

Table 2.3: Salary Ranges below SES Level and Number of Employees, 30 June 2012
ClassificationSalary range ($)Number of employees





EL 1





































As in previous years, all ongoing and long-term non-ongoing staff were required to participate in the Library’s Performance Management Framework, with pay-point progression subject to achieving a satisfactory performance rating.

Fraud Risk Assessment and Control

The Library is committed to the prevention of fraud and takes all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud in the workplace.

The Library is required to examine and update its Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan every two years: this review was completed in 2011–12. In accordance with the Library’s Fraud Management Policy, staff must be aware of their responsibilities in relation to fraud against the Commonwealth. Fraud awareness training is required to be undertaken by all Library staff and, during 2011–12, training sessions were made available to new staff and to staff who had not attended such training in the past four years.

Fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures are in place which, along with the Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan, meet the Library’s needs and comply with Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

Ethical Standards

The Library promotes and endorses the ethical behaviour of its employees by informing staff of their responsibilities and reinforcing compliance with APS Values and Code of Conduct. This is undertaken through:

  • references in the EA
  • the mandatory completion by all new employees of an online induction program, which includes an APS Values and Code of Conduct module
  • regular review and feedback under the Library’s Performance Management Framework
  • mandatory participation in fraud and ethics awareness training
  • participation in and promotion of the APS Commission’s Ethics Advisory Service
  • supporting policy and procedures, such as the whistleblowing and fraud awareness policies
  • establishing clearly identified channels and support networks for employees to raise matters of concern.

In addition to the usual reinforcement activities, in 2011–12 the Library offered the workshop, ‘Governance for Senior Leaders’. The Library also invited Annwyn Godwin, Merit Protection Commissioner, to deliver a staff presentation as part of the ‘Focus on Leadership’ seminar series.

Disability Strategy

The Library remains committed to the principles of the National Disability Strategy and continues to focus on improving access for people with disabilities to employment, programs, services and facilities.

To integrate disability access issues into existing strategic and business planning processes, the Library has developed a Disability Framework. The key elements of the framework include:

  • providing access to information and services
  • providing access to employment
  • purchasing accessible services
  • recognising people with disabilities as consumers of services
  • consulting people with disabilities about their needs.

These elements provide the platform for continuing developments in reader and visitor services, collections management and building and security services.

In 2011–12, the Library advanced the Disability Framework by developing three sub-plans that focus on employment, procurement and services. Each sub-plan contains strategies and actions that support the Library’s objective of improving access for people with disabilities to employment, programs, services and facilities. The sub-plans will also be used for future reporting.

Workplace Diversity

During the reporting period, the Library has taken steps to improve workforce participation in the specific diversity sectors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with disabilities. A working group has been established to identify and examine initiatives related to the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Library also participated in the APS Commission’s Pathways program, which has resulted in a modest increase in the number of staff from Indigenous backgrounds.

A campaign to encourage disclosure of a known disability and the identification of workplace assistance was also undertaken. The campaign resulted in a measurable increase in the Library’s workforce participation rate. An element of this initiative was to encourage staff to seek the Library’s assistance, with reasonable adjustment, contributing to the organisation being a respectful and inclusive workplace.

The Library continued to promote the Mature Age Staff Strategy and encouraged retirement planning and transition-to-retirement strategies as valid choices for staff. Presentations on how to discuss retirement options were undertaken with senior leader groups and an invitation for all staff to consider their transition to retirement options was circulated.

As at 30 June 2012, 71 per cent of staff were female and 24 per cent identified as being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Work Health and Safety

This year saw the concentrated efforts of Council and CMG to fulfill the Library’s obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and related regulations. In planning for the anticipated new laws, the Library established a Work Health and Safety (WHS) Action Plan based on a legislative compliance review undertaken in May 2011. The plan was used to develop and implement a WHS Management System for the Library. In May 2012, a desktop review by a WHS specialist measured and tested the new WHS Management System. A revised WHS Action Plan for 2012–13 is being developed.

In order to gauge performance against the WHS Management System, the Library reports to Council on a bi-monthly basis and provides a comprehensive annual report at the October meeting.

CMG was briefed on the new WHS legislation and its due-diligence obligations. A comprehensive report was subsequently provided to Council and the Audit Committee. Staff were provided with the opportunity to attend training in relation to their roles and responsibilities under the new WHS legislation. A comprehensive review of WHS policies was undertaken as a necessary component to establish the WHS Management System within the Library, with a particular focus on risk management, confined space, hazardous substances, plant, contractors and first aid. This resulted in the development of policies and procedures for each of these elements for the Library.

The Library’s online system for reporting hazards was enhanced to include incident reporting. The arrangement provides an efficient and effective workflow to meet Comcare’s reporting requirements and to report data and trends to Council, CMG and the WHS Committee. Material Safety Data Sheet software was also implemented to enhance the assessment and control of risks associated with hazardous substances and dangerous goods. The Library’s WHS risk-management processes were revised in response to the extension of the legislative definition of ‘workers’ to include volunteers, contractors and work experience students. An online WHS induction program was introduced. New terms of reference were also introduced for the quarterly meetings of the WHS and First Aid committees.

Training courses that were offered included:

  • manual handling
  • dangerous goods and hazardous substances
  • peer support
  • mental-health first aid
  • building resilience
  • contractor safety for managers.

The offer of in-house influenza vaccination was taken up by 150 staff and 120 staff elected to participate in a health assessment.

The Library continued to offer staff and their families confidential counselling through the Employee Assistance Program. Regular presentations were offered on issues, including finding the right balance in life, retirement, stress management and resilience, to complement and promote this program.

Work Health and Safety Statistics

Table 2.4: Reporting Requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which Took Effect January 2012, and under the Superseded Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, 30 June 2012

Section 38 occurrences

Notification and reporting of notifiable incidents

There were two notifications


Section 198 directions

Power to direct that workplace etc. not be disturbed

No directions were issued


Section 95 notices

Provisional improvement notices

No notices were issued


Section 160 investigations

Investigations addressing
non-compliance and
possible breaches

There were no investigations


Section 195 notices

Power to issue prohibition notices

No notices were issued


Section 191 notices 

Power to issue improvement notices

No notices were issued


 Note: The sections of the Act referred to in this table relate to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

During 2011–12, there were no injuries or illnesses that resulted in a claim for workers compensation. This continues the decreasing premium trend evident in 2010–11 and reflected in the declining premium rates as set out in Table 2.5.

Table 2.5: Premiums for Injuries Suffered, 2009–13 (as a percentage of wages and salaries)
Premium rates2009–102010–112011–122012–13

Latest premium rates for the Library*





Premium rates for all agencies combined (for comparison) 





Library premium rates as a percentage of all agencies





 * As amended retrospectively by Comcare

Asset Management

Collection Asset

The collection is the Library’s major asset, on which many of its services are based. The total value of the collection is $1.516 billion.

Plant and Equipment, and Software

The Asset Management Committee oversees the Library’s strategic asset management plan and coordinates operational asset acquisition programs. It also develops and monitors a four-year forward asset acquisition program for strategic planning purposes and an asset disposal program for items reaching the end of their working life. Major asset acquisitions in 2011–12 included the purchase of IT equipment and infrastructure, shelving and equipment and showcases for the Treasures Gallery.

The total value of plant and equipment at 30 June 2012 was $13.289 million.

The total value of software at 30 June 2012 was $4.102 million.

Land and Buildings

The total value of the Library’s land and buildings has been assessed at $201.945 million, including the main building in Parkes and the repository in Hume. The strategic direction for
the management of the Library’s facilities is guided by the Building Works Coordinating Committee. A 15-year Strategic Management Plan is used to set directions for building works, including an annual maintenance plan and a five-year capital works program, which are reviewed each year by Council.

A Strategic Building Master Plan ensures that building works are consistent with the long-term strategic direction of the Library and underpins Library facility planning and budgeting. The plan was reviewed this year to ensure it adequately reflects the Library’s future strategic directions.

In 2011–12, a number of significant capital expenditure building projects were undertaken, including:

  • commisioning of plant and finalisation works for the Treasures and Exhibition galleries and Main Reading Room refurbishment
  • refurbishment of the Library Bookshop
  • continuation of the Fire and Mechanical Services upgrade project, which commenced in late 2009, with anticipated completion in mid-2013, in response to a review of fire services requirements; key components undertaken during the year included the installation of new mechanical services plant on the lower levels and the pressurisation of fire corridors to create safe and smoke-free exit paths 
  • refurbishment of the Library’s five passenger lifts; elements of the existing lifts were over 
  • 40 years old and required a complete overhaul to ensure continued reliability
  • completion of the initial stage of the Foyer refurbishment, including Building Code compliance works to the marble stairs and restoration of the original marble floor
  • refurbishment of Level 1 office accommodation (approximately 1,750 sqm), providing a modern and flexible office environment.

A number of other capital works projects were finalised, including:

  • refurbishment of the Manuscripts Reading Room, Conference Room and several collection storage areas
  • installation of hearing loops in the Ferguson and Conference rooms
  • installation of a heavy duty hoist in the Level 5 plant room
  • replacement of the Executive Suite air conditioning plant
  • installation of digital CCTV cameras in several previously unmonitored areas.

Heritage Management Strategy

The Library is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List (2004) and is committed to the conservation of the Commonwealth heritage values of the main building. This includes undertaking consultation with recognised heritage specialists prior to undertaking building works in heritage-sensitive areas. In 2011–12, successful projects following consultation included the redesign of the Bookshop and the construction of the Treasures and Exhibition galleries and the new entrance to the Main Reading Room.

A review of the Library’s heritage furniture was undertaken, which provided an updated Heritage Furniture Register. The resulting report provides the Library with recommendations for the future use and management of the heritage furniture collection throughout the main building. Throughout the year, 24 items of heritage furniture were restored by approved restoration contractors.

In compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Library’s Conservation Management Plan has been reviewed and will undergo a public consultation process in preparation for submission in the second half of 2012 to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The Library’s Heritage Strategy was reviewed and amended this year, with a report on performance against the strategy to be submitted to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities next financial year.

Security and Business Continuity

The Library’s Emergency Planning Committee oversees all aspects of protective security and business continuity planning. It comprises senior staff with responsibility for corporate communications and the security of staff, the collection, buildings and other assets.

During 2011–12, business continuity policies and procedures were reviewed to ensure their compliance with Australian Standard AS 3745-2010: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities.
The Library has almost completed an update of security procedures for the additional requirements of the recent Commonwealth Protective Security Policy Framework.

Energy Consumption and Environmental Management

The Library is committed to improving its environmental performance across all areas of its operations. To do so, it has devised an Environmental Policy and an Environmental Action
Plan (EAP), which determines the Library’s targets for environmental performance. The Environmental Management System helps to set, implement and review these environmental objectives and targets.

In August 2011, to further enhance performance and awareness, the Environment Management Committee was established to coordinate and achieve the Library’s sustainability aims and targets. The committee meets quarterly to discuss, propose and implement a wide range of environmental initiatives across the Library, as well as to track performance against the EAP. Reports on environmental targets and performance are provided annually to Council.

The Library also aims to incorporate ecologically sustainable development principles into major projects. For example, the office refurbishment on Level 1 incorporated new workstations purchased from a company that aims to reuse, recycle or resell its products at end of life. Additionally, old carpet removed from the site was recycled and new carpets were purchased from a company that offers a take-back scheme at end of life.

In 2011–12, the Library has undertaken a number of initiatives which are expected to result in better waste management, energy savings and a reduction in the carbon footprint, including:

  • completion of an audit of current waste and recycling practices that identified opportunities for improvement, including introducing organic recycling and additional recycling streams to reduce waste to landfill
  • working towards accreditation with the ACTSmart Office program, a best-practice program on managing waste for organisations in the ACT
  • completion of an audit of light fittings and control systems within the main building, which identified opportunities to reduce energy usage by up to 25 per cent; tenders have been called to undertake the refurbishment of three test areas in the first quarter of 2012–13
  • commencement in May 2011 of a trial of broadening the temperature controls of collection storage areas at the Hume repository, with the aim of conserving energy usage and maintaining appropriate storage conditions
  • installation of flow restrictors on kitchen and bathroom taps.

In comparison to the previous year (May 2010 to May 2011), the Library has reduced gas consumption by 15 per cent to 4,805,293 MJ per annum and electricity consumption by two per cent to 6,720,587 kWh per annum. The Library’s water consumption has increased by seven per cent to 15,660 kL per annum. The increase is believed to relate to the high level of building works undertaken during the period. 

Recycling at the Library has also increased significantly. Cardboard recycling has increased by seven per cent to 22,020 kg and paper recycling has increased by six per cent to 38,405 kg per annum. Significantly, commingle recycling has increased by 55 per cent to 10,580 kg per annum, as a result of incorporating more waste into the commingle stream. Organic recycling commenced at the end of the year, with 267 kg being recycled during the trial period.


The Library maintained a focus on cost-effective contract management and procurement practices that are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and supplemented by the Library’s guidelines. The Library utilised the Australian National Audit Office’s Better Practice Guide: Developing and Managing Contracts (February 2012) to assess and update its processes and for guidance. Procurement and contract templates were reviewed to ensure they continue to meet government good practice and are simple and straightforward to use. The revised templates took particular heed of the new WHS legislative responsibilities.

The major procurement activity undertaken by the Library during the year related to the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement project and involved a two-stage approach: firstly, releasing an open Request for Proposal to inform the marketplace about the nature and scope of the Library’s requirements, to encourage innovative solutions, to clarify the Library’s expectations and to eliminate inappropriate bids; and secondly, providing a select Request for Tender to the bidders shortlisted from the first stage. The procurement drew interest from both domestic and international suppliers. 

Other large purchasing activities involved the acquisition of motorised mobile shelving units, the refurbishment of a staffing area on Level 1 and the tender for cleaning, recycling and labour. The Library did not enter into contracts of $100,000 or more that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.


In 2011–12, the Library operated nine grant programs.

Community Heritage Grants

The Library awarded 82 grants of up to $15,000 each to assist community organisations to preserve and manage nationally significant cultural heritage collections. Financial support and assistance for this grants program were received from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Office for the Arts, the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

Harold White Fellowships

The Library funded seven fellowships for established writers and researchers to spend up to six months at the Library researching collection material in their areas ofexpertise. Fellowships were awarded to Associate Professor Chi-Kong Lai, Professor Jim Davidson, Dr Lyn Gallacher, Dr Luke Keogh, Dr Anthony Lawrence, Professor Satendra Nandan and Dr Tim Sherratt. Honorary Fellowships were awarded to Dr Andrew Selth, Dr Mary Eagle and Professor Craig Reynolds.

Japan Fellowships

Awarded to established scholars and writers to spend up to six months at the Library researching Japanese collection material, the fellowships are funded through the Harold S. Williams Trust. One fellowship was awarded to Dr Gary Hickey.

Japan Study Grants

Funded through the Harold S. Williams Trust, these grants support scholars in Japanese studies who live outside Canberra to undertake research in the Library’s Japanese and western languages collections for up to four weeks. Grants were awarded to Ms Kumiko Kawashima, Dr Chiaki Ajioka and Dr Miyume Tanji.

National Folk Fellowship

With assistance from the National Folk Festival, the Library funded a four-week residency for Ms Emma Nixon and Mr Chris Stone to research original source material and to prepare a festival performance.

Norman McCann Summer Scholarships

Funded by Mrs Pat McCann, the Library awarded three scholarships of six weeks to young Australian postgraduate students Ms Michelle De Stefani, Ms Alexandra Dellios and Mr Jon Piccini to undertake research on topics in Australian history or literature. Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Library was able to offer an additional scholarship, which was awarded to Ms Fiona Scotney.

Seymour Summer Scholarship

Funded by Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour, this scholarship of six weeks supports research, preferably in biography, by a young Australian postgraduate student. The scholarship was awarded to Mr Robert O’Shea.

Kenneth Binns Travelling Fellowship

Funded by Mrs Alison Sanchez to commemorate her father, Kenneth Binns, Chief Librarian of the Commonwealth National Library from 1928 to 1947, the fellowship supports travel for professional development by Library staff in the early stages of their career. The 2012 fellowship was awarded to Ms Erika Mordek.

Friends of the National Library Travelling Fellowship

Funded by the Friends of the National Library of Australia, the fellowship provides a significant professional development opportunity for a Library staff member. The 2012 fellowship was awarded to Ms Anne Xu.

Cooperation on Corporate Management Issues within the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Portfolio

The Corporate Management Forum consists of senior executives with corporate management responsibilities from agencies in the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio and a small number of non-profit agencies. The forum considers issues in the areas of human resource management, financial management, procurement, IT and facilities management, with a view to achieving economies of scale, sharing experience and encouraging best practice.

The forum met four times during 2011–12. The matters considered by the forum included:

  • the Commonwealth financial accountability review
  • new WHS requirements
  • capital planning and funding
  • collection storage
  • energy management
  • risk management and insurance
  • enterprise agreements
  • staff training
  • key performance indicators for Australian Government arts and culture agencies
  • shared services.