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

A fair go for indigenous Artists in Australia

Media release
15 July 2010

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The Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett has welcomed today's opening of applications for the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct.

"I encourage art centres, galleries and art dealers to show their commitment to fair and honest trading with Indigenous artists by signing up to the Code.

"The voluntary code specifies a set of minimum standards, rights and responsibilities for commercial dealings with Indigenous artists.

"The Indigenous arts industry has seen enormous growth over the past few decades. Despite this success, some Indigenous artists are still subject to exploitative and unethical practices by unscrupulous dealers.

"This is a great opportunity for the Indigenous visual arts community to make a stand against unprofessional dealings with Indigenous artists."

The Code will be administered by Indigenous Art Code Limited, a public company established to manage the Code for the Indigenous visual arts industry. Galleries, art centres and dealers who wish to become a signatory of the Code need to sign up as a member of the company.

"The Government has been highly supportive of the Code and is providing $600,000 in funding to assist in its implementation but it is up to Indigenous Art Code Limited to make it happen and it is great to see the company progress the roll out of the Code.

"I congratulate Indigenous Art Code Limited's voluntary board of directors on their rigor and commitment to implementing the Code. Under the leadership of the company chair, Ron Merkel, the board has ensured that the Code sits within a strong governance framework."

Indigenous artists and organisations or individuals who are not commercial dealers but want to express their support for the objectives of the Code can also apply to become an Artist Member or Code Supporter Member of the company.

The Code was a major recommendation of the 2007 Senate inquiry into the Indigenous visual arts and crafts sector which found evidence of unethical treatment and exploitation of artists.

Application forms and more information on the Code and Indigenous Art Code Limited can be found at 

Commonwealth of Australia