Plans, policies and submissions



 ICOM Australia Strategic plan 2017-2020 (146kB)

Policies - ICOM Australia

Author guidelines for newsletters (417kB)

Communication policy (128kB)

Conditions of purchase and booking

Copyright statement


Privacy statement (71kB)

Rules of procedure (269kB) - updated Oct 2018

Style summary (171kB)

Governance documents - ICOM Australia

For ICOM Australia's key governance documents see: How we operate


Justice, equality and diversity statement

ICOM Australia advocates for inclusive, participatory and sustainable museums. ICOM Australia stands against all forms of racial injustice and inequality and advocates for change.

As the leading membership body representing the Australian museums, galleries, heritage and archives internationally, we take an active part in ending racism in the heritage sector.

We acknowledge that museums have an important role in recognising and challenging historic perspectives and that collections and shared knowledge can be used to highlight issues that matter to our communities. ICOM Australia recognises that museums are trusted institutions, which brings a responsibility to be diverse in the stories they tell and in the diversity of their staff and volunteers.  

Museums can play a critical role in building a society that is diverse, inclusive and tolerant and ICOM Australia will continue to support Australian museums and galleries to do that in both a national and international context.

ICOM Australia commits to representing our members across the sector and providing available tools to support the fight against racism and discrimination; facilitating debate and discussion around our shared collections; encouraging diversity in the staff who care for our collections. 

We recommend the following websites and resources for museums:

            Uluru Statement
  Indigenous Roadmap
  Metropolitan Museum New York anti-racism plans


  ICOM Australia justice, quality and diversity statement

Policies - ICOM international

ICOM Australia code of ethics for museums Code of ethics for museums
ICOM Australia code of ethics for natural history musuems Code of ethics for
natural history museums

Ethics and provenance joint statement

In light of recent issues (2014) at the National Gallery of Australia the presidents of the four peak museum bodies agreed to prepare a statement on Ethics and Provenance to have available should any media make inquiries of our position. The following was prepared at short notice, based largely on the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums.


Joint statement made by the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD), Council of Australian Art Museum Directors (CAAMD), ICOM Australia and Museums Australia on 3 Apr 2014:

Australia’s major museum and gallery organisations – the Council of Australasian Museum Directors, the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, the International Council of Museums – Australia and Museums Australia – reconfirm their commitment to the carrying out of rigorous due diligence in respect of provenance in relation to the acquisition of items for Australian collections.

The four peak organisations urge all member museums and galleries to exercise the utmost care possible in researching acquisitions and to ensure that ethical standards, as well as legal compliance with national or international laws and conventions, takes centre-place in their work of creating collections for the nation’s benefit.

We also urge all State/Territory and National museums and galleries in Australia to have acquisition policies, frameworks and ethical standards in place to guide them in building their collections ethically.

Since the 1970 UNESCO Convention prohibiting illicit trafficking of cultural material, attention to the provenance research and required due diligence surrounding proposed acquisitions to collections has been steadily rising here and overseas. The policies and standards developed in response have been codified by the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums (most recently revised in 2004) and the Museums Australia Code of Ethics (1994).

They are in turn underpinned by individual acquisition policies and standards authorised by each museum and gallery governing body. These policies reflect both internationally agreed ethical standards and the need for legal compliance with national and international laws, conventions and treaties. No substantial museum or gallery today acquires objects without the opportunity to assess their acquisitions within such frameworks, acknowledged standards and stated purposes for developing a collection.

These standards and self-imposed controls by museums and galleries in developing their collections have been strengthened over the last few decades with particular care given to due diligence in determining the origin and ownership trail for items. Museums and galleries have, for example, voluntarily revisited earlier acquisitions to rule out association with the looting by Nazis of cultural property during the Holocaust and to provide online facilities for provenance checking. Since the 1990s they have also adopted widely-accepted policies for the repatriation of wrongfully acquired Indigenous ancestral remains and secret-sacred material which is carried out under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Repatriation Program.

Most recently, the critical importance of due diligence in determining provenance has been enshrined in the Australian Government’s Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 which guarantees immunity against seizure when cultural objects are made available on loan from their owners for exhibitions staged in Australia.


Submission to the Australian Government on ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage 2003 (15 Sep 2008) (50kB)

Submission to the Australian Government on ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions 2005
(3 Nov 2008) (53kB)

Submission to the Australian Government on immunity from seizure legislation
(2 Sep 2011) (251kB)

Submission on the Australian Heritage Strategy (15 Jun 2012) (267kB)

Submission to the NSW Government on Inquiry into museums and galleries
(13 Aug 2016) (533kB)

Submission to the Australian Government on 2016 National research infrastructure roadmap capability issues paper (Sep 2016) (202kB)

Submission to the Australian Government on 2016 National research infrastructure roadmap capability - ICOM Australia comments (Jan 2017) (350kB)

Submission to NSW Government on management of the Powerhouse Museum etc
(15 May 2020) (368kB)  other submissions

Submission to the Australian Senate Select Committee on Covid-19 (28 May 2020) (310kB)

Submission to Australian Government inquiry into creative and cultural industries (22 Oct 2020) (120kB)

Australian Government programs and initiatives

The Australian Federal Ministry for the Arts has programs and initiatives that support and develop collections and ethical collecting across Australia at a national and regional level. A list of these can be found at:

   Ministry for the Arts Collections .


ICOM Australia policies