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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Minister welcomes support for Indigenous Art Code of Conduct

Media release
9 October 2009

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Minister for the Arts Peter Garrett today welcomed endorsement of the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct by Australian and New Zealand cultural ministers.

Speaking after the Cultural Ministers Council meeting in Adelaide, Mr Garrett said that Ministers endorsement of the Code is a significant milestone in achieving a strong and ethical Indigenous visual arts industry in Australia.

“A Code of Conduct governing fair and ethical trade in the commercial Indigenous visual art industry is vitally important for the future viability of the sector.

“This Code helps Indigenous artists negotiate fair pay for their work and give buyers greater certainty of an artwork’s origin and ownership and I urge all commercial galleries and art centres dealing in Indigenous Australian art to sign up to the Code once it becomes operational,” Mr Garrett said.

The Code sets out minimum standards for ethical Indigenous visual arts commerce to improve the transparency of transactions across the sector.

“The Code specifies minimum standards for dealers, agents and artists and defines terms of trade and rights and responsibilities for the sale and management of artworks. Importantly, it has been developed with industry input to be consistent with ACCC best practice principles for voluntary codes,” Mr Garrett said.

The Code will be administered by a committee on behalf of the Indigenous Australian art industry. The Code Administration Committee that will implement and manage the code is currently being established.

At the Cultural Ministers Council meeting, Ministers also approved the introductionof an Indigenous Australian Art Charter of Principles to be applied by publiccollecting institutions.

Mr Garrett said the Charter will raise public awareness of the ethical collecting practices used by Australia’s major public institutions and help them to promote best practice across the collections and Indigenous art sectors.

Implementation of a Code of Conduct was a key recommendation of a 2007 Senate Inquiry report into the Indigenous visual arts and craft sector, and was part of the Rudd Government’s election platform.

The Australian Government announced $544,000 in the 2009-10 Budget to support industry’s implementation of the Code, including establishing a Code Administration Committee and a website to promote and educate consumers and industry.

The Code of Conduct and Charter can be downloaded at www.indigenousartcode.org 

Commonwealth of Australia