On 22 November the National Capital Authority (NCA) approved three packages of works associated with the Australian War Memorial (AWM) redevelopment. This followed extensive community consultation over a six week period, from 31 July to 10 September 2021, designed to engage the Australian public and seek their views on the future of this nationally significant cultural institution.
Works approval was sought for the development of new and expanded exhibition spaces, expanded research areas and improved access to the site for people of all abilities through new arrival facilities at the southern entrance.
587 submissions were received from across Australia, reflecting the wide national interest in this proposal. Overall 73% of the submitters supported the proposed works, with a higher proportion of people living in regional areas expressing support (86%) compared to people in capital cities (63%). The majority of people in each jurisdiction across the country supported the proposal – with the exception of the Australian Capital and Northern Territories. 59% of the 112 submissions from people in the ACT, and two out of the three submitters from the Northern Territory did not support the proposal.
The NCA concluded that the proposed works have been designed in a manner to strengthen the geometry of the Griffins’ Plan, with the alterations strengthening built elements of the site and the Land Axis. The proposal is an evolution of the AWM which is widely accepted as a successful reinterpretation of the 1918 Griffin Plan.
The NCA considers that:
The NCA supports the evolution of the AWM site and considers the proposed development works are not inconsistent with the National Capital Plan.
Matters of cost and need for the redevelopment were addressed previously by the Australian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC) and considered and agreed to by elected representatives from across Australia before the Works Approval was submitted to the NCA for consideration. Curatorial matters and the content of displays are not matters for the NCA and were not considered as part of the consultation process.
To read the Consultation Report in full and for more general information on the consultation including documentation, please click here.