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

Registration opens for Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct

Media release
11 March 2010
PG/23

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Registration is now open for art dealers, including agents, galleries and arts centres to register their interest in becoming signatories to the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct.

Arts Minister, Peter Garrett, congratulated the Code Administration Committee on their progress to date

"The Code will, for the first time, provide a national set of standards for transactions between agents, artists and dealers in the Indigenous visual arts industry.

"Opening a process for dealers to register their interest is an important first step in meeting the aims of the Code," Mr Garrett said.

"The Code will ultimately help Indigenous artists negotiate fair deals for their work and give buyers greater certainty of an artwork's origin and the way in which it was purchased.

"I encourage anyone interested in registering to go to the Code website, www.indigenousartcode.org ."

The recently formed Code Administration Committee is a voluntary, independent industry body which will administer the Code, deal with complaints against signatories and promote the benefits of the Code to the broader industry.

The Committee is comprised of representatives from across the industry including dealers, Indigenous artists, artist resource organisations and independent professionals.

"This is an industry Code that will be owned and driven by the Indigenous visual arts sector and I am extremely pleased with the calibre and strength of the Committee who have volunteered their services to this important task," Mr Garrett said.

"Mr Ron Merkel QC and Mr Richard England MAIDC have recently been elected by the Committee as Chair and Deputy Chair.

"Committee Chair, Mr Merkel is a highly respected member of the legal profession with a strong commitment to Indigenous legal issues while Mr England brings a long history of corporate business administration and corporate management to the position of Deputy Chair."

"The Government strongly supports the Code and is providing $600,000 over three years to assist with implementation," Mr Garrett said.

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 Code was developed in consultation with the sector and has received its widespread support. For more information on the Code go to www.indigenousartcode.org 

Commonwealth of Australia