Within the Australian Government accountability framework, we manage strategic and operational risks to sustain our public value.


As the Accountable Authority, the Library’s Council has overall responsibility for ensuring an appropriate risk management framework is in place. The Council determines and articulates the Library’s risk appetite and tolerance levels; identifies strategic risks that may fundamentally affect the Library’s existence and the way we operate; and oversees the appropriate management response to these risks.

The Library’s Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee advises the Council on the adequacy of our enterprise risk management framework and associated internal controls for effective identification and management of business and financial risks, including fraud, legal, compliance, security and cybersecurity risks.

Implementation of the Library’s Risk Management Framework (refreshed in 2019–20) is delegated to the Director-General and the Executive. All staff are responsible for the day-to-day management of risk, and are collectively accountable for identifying, monitoring and managing strategic and operational risk.

The Library promotes a positive risk management culture, with managers and staff participating in the identification, assessment, planning and management of risks and opportunities. Staff are encouraged to review and report on risks according to assessed risk and the Library’s risk appetite, escalating risks as required.

During the life of this Corporate Plan we will:

  • further embed the Risk Management Framework, and move to centralised and consistent risk-reporting practices across the Library
  • enhance our enterprise-wide risk lens, embedding risk appetite and tolerance in risk identification, management and reporting across the Library
  • further develop our capability and capacity to manage risk, and capture opportunity, at all levels across the Library, by providing education and awareness programs.

Risk planning and management in the Library

Flowchart showing the structure of risk management at the Library.

Strategic risks

We have identified key strategic risks relating to the four pillars of the Library’s work. The following table describes the challenges associated with those risks, and how we will manage them.

Key strategic risks, challenges and management approaches

Key strategic risks Challenges Management approach


We do not collect today what will be important tomorrow.

The published and unpublished record of Australian society is increasingly complex, reflected in diverse forms of digital and physical content, from social media to digital archives.

We need specialist skills and infrastructure if we are to collect and manage them.

Use National edeposit for efficient digital collection of new Australian publications.

Use the Collecting Strategy and Collection Development Policy to focus and guide our approach to collecting items of national significance and increasing the diversity of the collection and its representation of the Australian community.

Strengthen our collection and digital capability (a key driver of our organisational redesign).

We do not preserve and store our collections—both digital and physical.

Our physical and digital collections continue to grow and we need to ensure adequate storage now and into the future.

Collection material, both digital and physical, can deteriorate over time, with additional technological obsolescence challenges for digital collections.

Preservation and preventive conservation programs require adequate resourcing to ensure we can preserve our collections and deliver them to readers with full functionality.

Maintain offsite storage lease arrangements to meet requirements until 2025.

Develop a business case and funding proposal to secure storage solutions post 2025.

Continue to highlight the Library’s need for capital funds to government.


We do not adjust to our changing environment.

Our social, political, cultural and funding environment is increasingly dynamic

In order to respond to the changes and to lead in our field, fulfilling our national role, we must have capabilities in systems, people, funding and organisational design to ensure that we anticipate change and embrace new thinking in our forward planning.

Increase agility, flexibility and organisational resilience (a key driver of our organisational redesign).

Led by Council, develop the 2030 sustainability plan and funding case for support.

Monitor and assess emerging national and international trends to improve Library practices and to build capability.

Upgrade content description practices using artificial intelligence for automated description and workflow improvements.

We do not meet our mandate to provide access to, and connect people, with our collections.

We need to keep abreast of and continue to develop content delivery systems for physical and digital collections.

We need to collect from across all communities in Australia, and develop knowledge and capability to continuously improve delivery systems.

Strengthen our digital presence, digital collection and digital delivery methods, while maintaining and improving our physical collection and delivery systems.

Use the Collecting Strategy and Collection Development Policy to embed collection practices that reflect the diversity and breadth of the Australian community.

Measure use of and engagement with existing and new digital resources.


We do not earn the confidence and trust of our stakeholders.

Our reach and role is national and this is sustained by our collaborations, partnerships, and commercial agreements with a range of stakeholders.

Our ongoing ability to manage stakeholder relationships effectively, and to retain the confidence and trust that government and Library users have in the Library is key to our success.

Survey key partners and stakeholders on a cyclical basis to understand their needs and views on the Library and its collection and services.

Participate in key stakeholder forums and collect data on use of our national infrastructure.

Implement the Communications and Digital Community Strategy 2020–23.

Improve external communication and stakeholder engagement (a key driver of our organisational redesign).


Our governance and accountability systems are not agile and resilient, nor suited to the Library’s operating environment. We require agile and resilient internal governance systems and work practices to ensure we can utilise the full capacity of our workforce, assess risks and opportunities, manage decision-making, deliver programs and projects effectively and provide assurance in relation to all our operations.

Implement the Technology Roadmap, addressing our application portfolio, infrastructure, disaster recovery and cybersecurity.

Invest in governance systems, workforce capacity and resource management practices (a key driver of our organisational redesign).

Report on program management to Council and to government.

Engage regularly with regulators and central agencies to improve practices and ensure compliance.

Risk appetite and tolerance

The Library has an open and proactive approach to managing risk. We have established upper and lower risk appetite limits for each of the identified six main categories.

Appetite range and guidance for managing six categories of risk

Risk category Appetite range Guidance

Safety and security

Cyber and physical security; workforce and public safety

Cautious The Library has a low tolerance for risk to the security and safety of its collections, information and systems, and to the health and safety of its workforce and visitors.


Our collection, facilities, information and reputation


The Library has a low tolerance for risk to the security and safety of its collections.

The Library accepts use of our assets to increase our profile and support fundraising.

The Library will take a broad interpretation of collections to enhance the documentary record of Australian history and society.

Service delivery and business continuity

The reliability of the systems that underpin our service delivery, and assurance of their continuity


The Library has a lower risk tolerance for continuity of onsite services and availability of its digital services.

The Library has a higher risk appetite for innovative approaches to service delivery that reflect changes in user expectations and drive community access to, and engagement with, the national collection.

Resource and stakeholder management

Our ongoing resourcing, efficient allocation of resources, and key stakeholder relationships


The Library has lower tolerance for risk of damage to strategic relationships.

The Library accepts that complaints regarding service delivery and operating models may occur, and will respond and amend practice as required.

The Library is open to new fundraising models.

People and performance

Our alignment of effort with strategy and engagement of staff


The Library has lower risk tolerance for poor workplace behaviours and poor management of workforce and capability.

The Library accepts the use of a contingent workforce and is open to innovative technical solutions and work practices.

Governance and compliance

Our governance frameworks and compliance


The Library aims for full compliance with statutory obligations but accepts there will be compliance breaches from time to time, which will be actively monitored and managed.

All decision-making must be lawful and ethical.