All Australians are encouraged to participate in and contribute to the development project. In 2019, the Memorial began public consultation on the development. This consultation will continue at each stage of the Development Project, as we engage in various community-led advisory and focus groups. The consultation will also offer opportunities for public feedback through several national online forums. We encourage people who have either a positive or a negative view about the project to submit their feedback to ensure that the responses we receive represent public opinion.
Please subscribe to our e-newsletter Our Next Chapter for regular project updates and information about how to participate in public consultation opportunities.
Members of the public are also encouraged to share ideas and feedback at any time by emailing email@example.com.
Detailed reporting and consultation outcomes to date can be viewed on under Reports and Documentation.
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.
Project Plans and Approvals
National Capital Authority Approval
This consultation is now open and closes on 30 April 2021.
Under the National Capital Authority (NCA) Approval process, a comprehensive public consultation program will be conducted by the NCA to engage the community in its decision-making regarding the Memorial’s development applications.
Through this process, the NCA will gather public feedback and submissions in relation to the project. An outcomes report will be prepared and published on the NCA website. The report will include a detailed analysis of issues raised in the forums or online submissions and what, if any, changes have been made to the original project application in response to community feedback.
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.
Current and Upcoming Consultations
Four focus groups are currently planned, with meetings taking place early in 2021. The aim of these focus groups is to encourage participants, through detailed discussion, to explore specific topics that come to light through the National Survey. This will help the Memorial to better understand public beliefs and attitudes concerning exhibition content, as well as the preferences of visitors when visiting the new galleries.
Participation in focus groups will be through a third-party research agency, which will run these sessions on behalf of the Memorial, ensuring a broad cross-section of the Australian public from all backgrounds.
Our Gallery Development team is also 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.
Each Advisory group has been established with members with specialist skills and knowledge who have made significant contributions to their respective communities.
- 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.
- Universal Access and Inclusion Peer Review – a group that is inclusive and representative of people with diverse needs.
- Veterans’ affairs group – representatives from various ex-service organisations, associations and individuals contributing to veteran’s welfare.
The Memorial is committed to working collaboratively with these groups.
Continual engagement throughout the Project will build our knowledge base and help connect the Memorial to the wider community to achieve outcomes that are representative, relevant, authentic and engaging.
Gallery Development National Survey
The Memorial’s national online survey was the first phase of the process of 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. The survey received more than 4,000 responses. 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.
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.
- 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.
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 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.
The Department undertook its own internal processes before making a final decision to approval our referral on 10 December 2020.
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:
- EPBC Act National Consultation Report (8.7 MB)(PDF file) (February 2020) [8.7 MB PDF]
- EPBC Preliminary Documentation – Public Comments [27.1 MB PDF]
- EPBC Response to Public Submissions (September 2020) [5.2 MB PDF]
- EPBC Final Preliminary Documentation Submission [7.5 MB PDF]
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.