In August, Crikey reportedthat redundancies had hit the Art Gallery of New South Wales, with the media department folded into a communications unit. This followed news that the gallery was aiming to save around $800,000 from its budget through voluntary redundancies. The gallery seems to be moving ahead with this plan, with four staff made redundant on Wednesday morning, and more expected over the next couple of weeks. A tipster tells us that the gallery is attempting to reduce the number of staff by 20 in total.

The tipster questioned whether the executives should be taking a pay cut in the name of “savings targets”, instead of the staff.

“I wonder if the gallery or its trustees has thought of giving the director Michael Brand and his executive team of four a pay cut due to poor performance? Brand’s salary is close to $500,000 p.a. while combined with the executive team is in excess of $2,000,000 p.a.”

A spokesperson for the gallery said the redundancies remained voluntary, and insisted there was no target:

“The Gallery recently offered voluntary redundancies to staff, and the Gallery held a farewell breakfast yesterday for four staff who nominated themselves for a voluntary redundancy.  They all have been highly valued members of staff who have made significant contributions to the Gallery over many years.  They will be greatly missed by their Gallery colleagues and we wish them all the very best for their future.

“Voluntary redundancy is one of a range of options the Art Gallery of NSW is looking at to find efficiency savings.  These measures are not unique to the Art Gallery; other NSW Government agencies have also been tasked with the same efficiencies. The Gallery’s highly competent management team is currently exploring options to find these savings in line with existing Government policies and procedures. The rumour that there are redundancy ‘targets’ is incorrect.”

The gallery would not disclose the wages of the executives of the Art Gallery of NSW but said the detail could be found in the gallery’s annual report. This suggests that Brand’s salary is between $422,501 and $488,100. There are four executive members of staff, and three in the next highest wage bracket of $238,301 to $299,750 per year.

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Peter Fray

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