The National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

The National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Twenty-eight staff positions will be cut at the National Film and Sound Archive and the regular screenings at Arc cinema will be a thing of the past, after a major restructure announced on Friday.

Chief executive Michael Loebenstein, pictured, said staff numbers would be reduced from 206 to 178, meaning the loss of 28 positions.

And the regular year-long program of films at the much-loved art deco cinema will be cut to occasional event screenings and public programs, while the archive looked to modernise its operations and move more into the online world.

Mr Loebenstein announced the restructure at an all-staff meeting on Friday, the result of a six-month business review that will be phased in from July 1.

He said he would work with staff to reduce jobs through redeployment, natural attrition and voluntary redundancies - and emphasised that management was actively encouraging staff to look at moving into other agencies or departments.

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''First and foremost, there are no forced redundancies and there is no broad program of voluntary redundancies, so we are not offering voluntary redundancies at this point and we are not asking people across all staff to raise their hands,'' he said.

''The No.1 priority is redeployment of staff who are affected by change into either new roles that have come up under the model, into roles that are vacated or are currently vacant, or redeployment into other agencies in the public service.''

He said cuts would affect staff at all levels and in all four of the archive's offices, in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, although the bulk of the staff are in Canberra.

But he maintained that Friday's announcement had not come out of the blue.

''At this point, every staffer affected by the changes had learned in one-on-one conversations about those changes,'' he said. ''All I can say is to express my appreciation of our staff, how professional they [dealt] with this really, really difficult situation.''

Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said the job losses were concerning in an already difficult environment.

''Losing any positions in the cultural institutions will be keenly felt as there is simply no fat to trim,'' she said. ''All the cultural institutions are under the pump with budget pressures and the NSFA is just one of several looking to cut positions in order to make ends meet. All of this is ahead of what is expected to be a tough budget and the National Commission of Audit, which is expected to usher in widespread cuts.''

But Mr Loebenstein said the restructure had nothing to do with the current government or the upcoming budget.

''All I can firmly say is no, I am not privy to any secret knowledge, I am not privy to the national commission of audits or to the Treasurer's deliberations,'' he said. ''All I know is that we must able to sustainably live within our means.

''The message really is, it's not shut doors, it's not turning into a storage facility. There will be programs and we will be phasing them in over the course of the next couple of months, before the end of this calendar year, and they will be unique and they will be appropriate to the NFSA's mission.''