A round of redundancies is pushing National Film and Sound Archive staff to the exit doors as the cash-strapped agency trims its numbers.
Eight public servants will leave the national body collecting and preserving Australia's audio-visual history after it offered voluntary redundancy packages.
The archive confirmed on Thursday it decided to use its leftover salaries budget to fund redundancies as it approached the end of the financial year.
An archive spokeswoman said it offered the packages as part of its bid to become a "sustainable", digitally-focused organisation.
"We unfortunately had to take a decision regarding whether a small number of specific positions were now excess to requirements," she said.
"This process is ongoing and we are unable to comment on it at this time."
May's federal budget papers detailed no cut to the archive's average staffing level, which was expected to stay at 164 for a fourth year in 2019-20.
The archive received a slight increase in its annual government funding after years of cuts that had it working with $2 million less in federal money each year compared to 2014-15.
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Staffing levels have fallen from 215 in 2012-13, prompting a warning from Friends of the National Film and Sound Archive that the agency was in retreat amid tightening budgets and the ongoing efficiency dividend forcing it to find cuts annually.
The main public sector union said cuts to the archive's budget were having an effect, and represented an under-investment in Australia's cultural heritage.
Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said while staff morale had improved with the appointment of the archive's director, its public servants were anxious about reduced staffing and how it might have to change its work to manage its smaller budget.
"The redundancy process began last year and we are closely involved on behalf of our members, and are meeting again soon," she said.
"We don't think it's anyone's preferred option that people lose their jobs as a result of tightening budgets, but all our institutions are finding the cuts difficult and have done for some time."
Friends of the National Film and Sound Archive told a recent parliamentary inquiry into Australia's national institutions the government should restore the agency's 2008 funding levels to let it rebuild its profile and activities.
"The 'efficiency dividend' hits small organisations such as the NFSA and other cultural institutions particularly hard, as they have little room for budget flexibility," the group said.
"The funding cutbacks and staffing reductions are facing the NFSA with impossible choices."
The parliamentary inquiry report recommended the government offset the "disproportionate impact" of the efficiency dividend on Canberra's national institutions.
It suggested setting a spending threshold for agencies below which the government would waive or reduce the efficiency dividend.