Rising costs, the pandemic crisis and a government-mandated “efficiency dividend” have forced the National Gallery of Australia to sack about 30 staff in a bid to deliver annual savings of $1.5m.

The job cuts today, announced today, amount to up to 12 per cent of workers. NGA director Nick Mitzevich said they were calling initially for volunteers but no undertaking were given about what would happen if insufficient workers came forward by the three-week deadline.

Nick Mitzevich.

Nick Mitzevich.

“If there are people in the organisation who want to leave and they put their hand up, it makes it easier for everyone else,” said Mr Mitzevich, adding that it was “unknown” where the cuts would land most heavily.

Mr Mitzevich, who joined the NGA nearly two years ago from the Art Gallery of South Australia, made it clear the federal government’s demand for an annual reduction in operating costs was “unhelpful” and a contributing factor, but also pointed to flatlining interest income and rising utility costs as other factors.

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