Protecting First Nations visual arts and crafts

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to protecting First Nations artists and businesses from the scourge of fake visual arts and crafts.

The Government welcomes the Productivity Commission’s draft report into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts and crafts, which has been released today, as an important first step.

Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said the Government is committed to ensuring Indigenous artists and businesses benefit from their art and are not undercut by fakes.
Fake ‘Indigenous-style’ art is popular in tourist and souvenir stores across Australia.

From paintings to boomerangs, clapping sticks to digeridoos, t-shirts to ties – these misleading products are typically mass produced in places like China and Indonesia with no Indigenous involvement.

“I’m sick to death of First Nations artists getting ripped off. Fake art isn’t just dishonest - it is cultural theft,” Minister Burke said.

“These fakes undercut legitimate artists and devalue genuine Indigenous cultural expression, robbing First Nations artists of income and business opportunities while also misleading consumers.”

Labor has committed to working with First Nations people to establish stand-alone legislation to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions, taking into account the findings of the Productivity Commission review.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, said the Government is committed to drawing on the findings and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to strengthen authentic and ethically produced First Nations arts.

“Art is fundamental to Indigenous cultures, and allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to share stories, connect to Country, strengthen cultures and communities, and to access a range of employment and economic opportunities,” Minister Burney said.

“Inauthentic art products and merchandise have no connection to First Nations communities and do not provide them with any economic benefits, which is why we’re committed to supporting an ethical marketplace that provides fair returns to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and businesses.

“I welcome today’s draft report and thank the Productivity Commission, government agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for their work in developing these comprehensive recommendations.”

A consultation period is now open through to the end of August to enable the sector to provide feedback on the recommendations outlined in the draft report, before a final report is released in late 2022.

To provide feedback on the draft report’s recommendations, and for more information, visit: