The Memorial began public consultation on the development in 2018 and has continued to offer opportunity for public input at each stage of the project. This consultation approach will continue as we consult on gallery content and exhibition development, engaging various community-led advisory and focus groups to guide decision-making. Public feedback will continue through surveys and online forums.
Detailed reporting and consultation outcomes to date can be viewed on under Reports and Documentation.
Project Plans and Approvals
Main Works Consultation
Consultation is now complete.
The National Capital Authority (NCA) held the community consultation period for the Memorial’s Major Works design packages, offering opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the architectural designs of the project plans.
On 24 November 2021, the NCA approved the Memorial’s three Major Works packages for the Development Project: Main Works Package 1 (the Southern Entrance), Main Works Package 2 (the CEW Bean Building extension) and Main Works Package 3 (the new Anzac Hall).
Main Building Refurbishment
The Main Building Refurbishment project is the localised (select areas) internal reconfiguration and fit-out of the Australian War Memorial Main Building.
The project is being undertaken as stage 2 of the AWM Development – a program of works that addresses the broader constraints on display space and visitor amenity at the Memorial.
Stage 1 (approved and under construction) includes the new Southern Entrance, Glazed Link, Anzac Hall and CEW Bean Building expansion.
Stage 1 enables the removal of the research centre and some back of house functions from the Main Building to free up space to enable gallery expansion.
The main building refurbishment project includes works to parts of the main building to:
a) Provide equitable circulation routes with new corridors, lift and staircase
b) Create gallery areas (shell only - for future fit-out)
c) Reconfigure existing back of house functions into a smaller footprint
d) Provide new visitor amenities such as toilets, first aid room and respite room
e) Expand and enhance the educational facilities
f) Remove plant and storage functions from the external Gate 4 maintenance area and construct amenities for visitors to the educational area.
The project does not change the functions of the Australian War Memorial.
The Main Building Refurbishment project has been referred to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
As part of that process, a Heritage Impact Statement has been prepared against the Memorial’s Heritage Management Plan 2022 (PDF - 4.0 MB).
View the plans of the proposed works (PDF 8.6 MB).
The referral process includes a period of community consultation undertaken by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water. Details can be found on the DCCEEW website: https://epbcpublicportal.awe.gov.au/open-for-comments/
Proposed Main Building refurbishment fit-out
Our Gallery Development team is undertaking targeted community engagement with a variety of individuals and groups to seek specific input into the gallery content development process. This will include five community Advisory groups which will meet with our team and give advice on the exhibitions for the duration of the project.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group – national Indigenous representation will provide cultural advice and guidance for the future development of the Memorial.
Youth Advisory Group – prominent young Australians from diverse backgrounds and with proven community connections will provide advice and feedback on proposed gallery content to ensure the sustainability and relevance of the Memorial for future generations.
Access Advisory Group – a group that is inclusive and representative of people with diverse needs.
Veterans Advisory group – representatives from various ex-service organisations, associations and individuals contributing to veteran’s welfare.
Diversity Advisory Group – a group reflecting the diversity of Australian people, including representation from culturally linguistically and diverse backgrounds
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Advisory Group
Marianne Atkinson (Gunai, Kurnai language groups)
Lorraine Hatton OAM (Quandamooka, Ngughi, Noonuccal language groups)
Brenda Hodge (Trawlwoolway, Paireebeene language groups)
Jackie Huggins AM (Bidjara, Birri-Gubba Juru language groups)
Francis (Frank) Lampard OAM (Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri language groups)
Shirly Mooney OAM (Wongi language group)
Wing Commander Cheryl Neal (Yuin language group)
Squadron Leader Gary Oakley OAM (Gundengurra language group)
Lieutenant Commander Bertram Slape OAM (Larrakia language group)
Access Advisory Group
Lindy Hou OAM
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Advisory Group
Dr Farkondeh Akbari
Mohammad (Bilal) Waheed
Veterans Advisory Group
Major Brett C Grosser Retd
Commodore Michelle H Miller AM
Lieutenant Colonel Rchard Moor Retd
Sergeant Peter Rudland Retd
Professor Tracey Smart AO
Brigadier Phil Winter AM CSC ADC
Youth Advisory Group
Midshipman Kynan Elliott
Project Plans and Construction Activity
Early works consultation
Under the National Capital Authority (NCA) approval process, a comprehensive public consultation program was conducted by the NCA in April 2021 to engage the community in its decision-making about the Memorial’s Early Works development applications. Following this consultation, the NCA approved the Memorial’s Early Works package for the development on Monday 7 June 2021.
Visit the NCA website to view details of the Early Works consultation process, to review submission documentation, and to access the NCA’s official Consultation Report.
View Kantar Public’s ‘Key Findings Report’, detailing national audience and stakeholder feedback on initial exhibition design development – October 2021.
Six focus group meetings took place in February 2021 with up to 6 people in each session. Participation in focus groups was sourced through a third-party research agency, which ran these sessions on behalf of the Memorial, helping ensure a broad representation from cross-section of the Australian public.
The aim of these focus groups was to encourage participants to engage in detailed discussion that explored specific topics and themes that came to light through the National Online Survey. The feedback provided by participants in these sessions will help inform our gallery development and curatorial teams to better understand public beliefs and attitudes concerning exhibition content, and the preferences of visitors when visiting the new galleries in future.
During March 2021, the Memorial ran a series of national forums to consult with the community about the content within new gallery spaces.
Over thirty public forums were hosted by Kantar Public Ltd Pty on behalf of the Memorial, providing the public with an opportunity to hear from the Memorial’s Gallery Development team and discuss the proposed exhibitions and some of the content visitors may eventually see in these spaces.
Most of these sessions were held online, however, two face-to-face sessions were hosted at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Each session allowed attendees to contribute thoughts, feedback and ideas on this proposed content.
Gallery Development Online National Survey
More than 4,000 responses were received for our national online survey, conducted in February 2021, the first phase of the community engagement for gallery development. The purpose of the survey was to gather public feedback on themes, storylines and collection items to be included in the proposed new galleries and exhibition spaces, as well as asking respondents to share thoughts on what makes a great museum experience.
To ensure independence and industry rigour, Kantar Public Ltd Pty was engaged by the Memorial to run the general public survey across all states and territories. Public responses were sourced based on a demographic assessment of age, gender and location of residence to ensure the results were statistically representative of the broader Australian population.
Survey feedback will be analysed by Kantar and used as the foundation for future engagement at national public forums, and for deeper consultation with focus and advisory groups.
Our consultation approaches will help us:
Gauge visitor interest in topics, themes, specific stories and/or collection items;
Understand public expectations related to current and future exhibition interpretation in the context of war history;
Understand public sentiment about the interpretation and presentation of difficult topics and stories;
Gauge suitability of proposed exhibition design concepts;
Test responses to a variety of subjects, including challenging or difficult content.
As we learn more and gather feedback through engagement activities, we will share findings as they become available via our website.
Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act Referral
An online, demographically representative survey was also conducted in January 2020 to further understand community responses to the impact of the project on the Memorial’s social heritage values.
These two consultation programs resulted in feedback regarding the project from more than 1,000 Australians. This feedback has been used to inform both the assessment documentation and the further development of our project plans.
Stage 1 - Initial Consultation for Public Comment: 46 face-to-face information and community drop-in sessions across all the states and territories in November 2019 and January 2020. This included specific consultation sessions for Indigenous stakeholders.
A list of comment authors is provided at the link below; note that some submissions have not been disclosed for considerations of privacy.
After reviewing and considering the public comments received, as well as initial feedback from sources such as the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, more than 50 updates, clarifications or changes to project documentation and supporting attachments were made to our EPBC Final Preliminary Documentation Submission. A copy of this submission is provided in the link below.
Stage 2 - Second Phase Consultation and Preliminary Documentation revisions: In July 2020 a four-week period was offered for the public to comment the environmental and heritage impacts of our plans. During this time the Memorial continued to engage with DAWE and other government agencies on heritage matters, to undertake detailed design refinement. In this second public consultation phase, 167 public submissions were received, including two late submissions which have been accepted.
The Department undertook its own internal processes before making a final decision to approval our referral on 10 December 2020.
Stage 3 - Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment review: Revised Final Preliminary Documentation was submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment on 29 September 2020. This documentation, and the comments received, have been published below.
Consultation report overview (April 2020)
The consultation feedback demonstrates broad support for the expansion of the Memorial to enable it to tell the continuing story of Australian men and women who have served our nation in recent conflicts, and on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. It further demonstrates that veterans and their families in particular see a need for the Memorial to tell their stories with the same dignity and respect that are given to the stories of those who fought in earlier wars.
This support is demonstrated in particular by the low rates of objection to the project by key stakeholders, as represented by the veterans and defence family communities (less than 2% ‘not supportive’), and by the overall Australian public (less than 5% ‘not supportive’).
Consultation also revealed that the primary concern of participants was generally not focused on the impact of the project on the physical heritage fabric or on the design of new buildings, though commentary was generally positive on both. Rather, people’s focus was on how and what stories should be told. The online survey further demonstrates the positive social heritage and social values outcomes that are expected to be generated by the project. Similarly, consultation reveals a high lack of concern about the environmental impact and outcomes of the project among key stakeholders.
A copy of documents relating to the consultation feedback Public Submissions can be viewed below:
Public Works Committee Referral
As part of the standard approval process our development project was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works on 30 April 2020.
The Committee conducted a public consultation period covering our development project via its website. Submissions and participation in this process closed on 17 June 2020.
A second public hearing was conducted in July 2020 with submissions considered and in February 2021, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC) tabled their report and approved the development project with majority bi-partisan support. The project has now achieved both parliamentary and environmental approvals, progressing to the final major approval process, managed by the ACT Government through the National Capital Authority.
An eight-week stakeholder consultation process, was held from 2 August to 26 September 2018, seeking feedback on the proposed development project.
A series of public workshops and forums were held across Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Townsville. A dedicated email address, webpage and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) also enabled stakeholders to provide written feedback.