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

Australian visual artists to benefit from passage of resale royalty right legislation

Media release
26 November 2009

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Australian artists will receive a portion of the proceeds from the resale of their work with the passage of the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Bill 2008 through the Parliament today.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett said the introduction of a resale royalty scheme was one of the Government's key election commitments for the arts and would benefit visual artists across the country.

"After waiting a long time for this kind of recognition this is a red letter day for Australia's visual artists.

"This legislation enshrines an important right for artists to receive royalty payments from subsequent sales of their artworks, both in their own lifetimes and carrying over to their heirs and successors for a period of 70 years after an artist's death.

"Visual artists derive their main source of income from the first sale of original artworks and do not currently have the same range of revenue-making opportunities as other creators, such as authors and composers.

"It is only fair that artists and their descendants should share in the growing value of the artworks - particularly as value can grow substantially over time.

"In particular there will be benefits for Indigenous visual artists, who have experienced significant increases in the value of their work.

"The passage of this legislation through the Australian Parliament is an important development for the Australian art market and a significant result for visual artists, recognising the value and esteem in which they're held by the wider Australian and international community."

Resale royalties will be collected and distributed to artists by a single collecting organisation, to be selected by the Government through a competitive tender process.

Under the government's scheme artists will receive five per cent of the sale price when works are resold through the art market for $1000 or more. The scheme will be prospective, applying to resales of original works acquired after the scheme takes effect. This will give time for the art market to adjust to the scheme.

The scheme is expected to be in place by mid 2010.

More information is available from: 

Commonwealth of Australia