Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Strengthening Australia’s Indigenous visual arts sector

The Rudd Government will provide almost $10 million over four years to increase funding for Indigenous art centres and organisations, and support Indigenous employment.

The funding will also support the industry’s implementation of the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct ($0.6 million over three years).

These measures recognise the rapid growth of the industry and the many Indigenous jobs and incomes that it supports. This increased funding will help secure the art sector’s long term viability.

Successful art centres are often the sole means of generating commercial income within Indigenous communities, especially in remote areas, and income generated through art sales is reinvested in local communities.

The funding will expand support for art centre operations, ensuring appropriate staffing, training and salaries for art centre employees, and addressing poor recruitment and retention rates in remote areas.

Through the National Arts and Crafts Industry Support (NACIS) program it will also help build a more sustainable Indigenous visual arts sector by investing in programs which support professional art practice, community art activities and business management.

As well, funding for the implementation of the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct will help the industry to determine a set of minimum standards for dealers, agents and artists, and define terms of trade as well as rights and responsibilities for the sale and management of artworks. The code has been developed with industry input to be consistent with ACCC best practice principles for voluntary codes.

This is an important step in stamping out exploitation of Indigenous artists and unfair practice which affects both artists and art investors.

The new funding supports key elements of the Rudd Government’s 2008 response to the Senate Inquiry into the Indigenous visual arts sector, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the industry.

The Government is committed to a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

More information on this measure is contained in the Fact Sheets available online at: FaHCSIA website