Audit of TMAG

Matt Smith, Auditor-General calls on Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery to lift its game, Herald Sun, 27 March 2015

Arts Minister Vanessa Goodwin says “long-standing issues” at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery are being addressed by the Government.

The response came after Tasmanian Auditor-General Mike Blake called on TMAG to make some improvements in the way it operates.

Mr Blake has tabled a report examining how well TMAG complied with the national standards that were developed to assist the Australian Museum care for its collections while maximising visitor numbers.

“TMAG complied with the national standards, but some improvements are needed,” Mr Blake said.

The audit found:

  • TMAG’s legal and management framework was unclear.
  • There was a need for the roles and responsibilities between TMAG and the Department of State Growth to be reviewed and made clearer.
  • TMAG had encountered some major budgetary problems during the past four years with the museum overspending its annual budget, with funds having to be reallocated from other areas of government to meet the shortfall.

However, Mr Blake did note recent steps taken by TMAG should now enable it to operate within its budget within a few years, providing additional savings measures were undertaken.

The audit identified an urgent need for TMAG to develop high-level planning documents.

Mr Blake said doing so would enable it to better articulate its aims and objectives and its ability to attract and retain visitors.

“Clearer planning and direction would assist discussions about funding, roles and responsibilities and how to better respond to visitor feedback,” Mr Blake said.

Dr Goodwin said soon after taking on the role of Arts Minister it became clear that TMAG had significant challenges not only in terms of managing within its budget and other operational matters, but also with regard to its governance and legislative arrangements.

“Many of these are legacy issues which are not easily resolved without major reform,” she said.

“The task of addressing issues at TMAG will require ongoing, focused efforts on behalf of the Government, but we are determined to resolve long-standing issues to ensure TMAG has a bright future ahead of it.”