Budget woes impact TMAG open hours

Arts Minister Vanessa Goodwin

Arts Minister Vanessa Goodwin

A $1 MILLION budget blowout has forced the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart to announce that it will close its doors one day a week from November.

The change of opening hours will result in job losses, although museum acting director Jennifer Storer said a number of new permanent part-time positions would be created.

She indicated there could be up to three full-time jobs at risk and management would meet with staff tomorrow to outline the changes.

Trustees and management of the museum informed Arts Minister Vanessa Goodwin of its decision yesterday.

Management said the decision to be open to the public only six days a week came after the museum had recorded significant budget overruns of an average of $1 million a year over the past five years. The museum will also close an hour earlier Tuesday to Sunday.

It was stated that the decision to open to the public for only six days a week was "to align with other museums around Australia and the world".

Launceston's Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery continues to operate seven days a week, but recently did shorten its hours to 10am to 4pm.

"TMAG is one of the hubs of the arts in this state and is an institution which Tasmanians are justifiably proud of," Dr Goodwin said.

"The Board of Trustees and museum management has informed me of their decision to align with other museums around Australia, with the museum recording an average loss of $1 million a year.

"To continue in this manner would put at risk the ongoing viability of TMAG and the excellent position they have achieved as a premier visitor attraction and cultural hub."

Dr Goodwin lay the blame for TMAG's budget deficit squarely at the feet of the previous Labor-Green government.

"The previous government completely failed to address this over a number of years," she said yesterday.

"They failed to plan for the operational budget of TMAG after the redevelopment and as a result the significant budget overruns have continued.

"Closing one day provides an opportunity for the essential 'back of house' work required by institutions to showcase their significant collections and important public buildings to take place with minimal disruption to visitors ."

TMAG will be closed on Mondays following findings of a study commissioned by TMAG showed visitor numbers were significantly lower on Mondays.

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