Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

Other title

Parliamentary Record 12


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3881 building on successes through indigenous arts and cultural tourism opportunities to provide local jobs for local people; and informing strong indigenous arts policy and strategies through research and data collection in relation to the indigenous arts sector. The Aboriginal arts industry is an important investment in our people and in our community. That industry must be acknowledged as embracing economic as well as community and cultural development. I do not pretend that the industry does not face considerable problems, not least the need for a more rational and consistent funding base from the federal government. We need to develop an accurate picture of the current size and scope of the sector with a comprehensive approach to ongoing data collection. Governments at all levels should adopt and maintain consistent long-term policy and resourcing to the Aboriginal visual arts and craft sector. This is not special pleading. Governments routinely provide industry support programs inside and outside the cultural domain. The Aboriginal visual arts and craft industry clearly falls into both. Building Stronger Arts Business has been, and continues to be, the Territorys response to the need for such consistent support. I urge a similar approach from the Commonwealth. Similarly, it is important that there is ongoing support to its representative bodies from the art centres themselves through to representative bodies such as ANKAAA and Desart. In each case, this involves government at all levels approaching these bodies in the same way and with the same respect it treats other industry representative bodies. Our governments submission to the Senate calls for: a comprehensive, fully costed assessment of all infrastructure requirements across the industry, including the development of standard methodologies for determining minimum requirements and formulae for calculating costs for new entrants to the art centre network; a structured and timetabled approach across, say, five years to meet identified infrastructure needs; and in consultation with ANKAAA and Desart membership, a planned approach to prioritising infrastructure needs for the art centres over that five years. The Northern Territory government is more than willing to work with the Australian government on these and other issues facing the industry. I make one final point today, and that concerns the issue of unethical conduct undertaken by some in the industry, from forgery to carpetbagging. These are issues that continue to bedevil the industry. Indeed, they are issues that have been raised extensively in the media by me and members opposite. I do not have easy answers to this continuing problem and have to be convinced of some proposals that have been raised; for example in licensing and regulation of aspects of the industry. I am not saying I am rejecting these proposals out of hand, just that I need to be convinced that regulation of cultural industries must be treated with considerable caution. However, some areas of existing federal legislation such as the Trade Practices Act and Customs Act clearly need to be looked at. Certainly, immediate action can be undertaken by the Australian Taxation Office as a means of dealing with unethical and unscrupulous behaviour in dealing with the Aboriginal visual arts and craft industry. From what I have been told, a number of less reputable dealers in Aboriginal art would have difficulties sustaining their practices in the face of rigorous tax auditing. In concluding, I am not sure if it is entirely parliamentary to draw attention to a necklace I often wear in this place. It is a silver image of a stingray, which is one of my totems. It was designed by Therese Burak. I also have this silk scarf designed by Therese Anne Munkara. These are things of great beauty and are very special to me as a Tiwi woman. They are important as well to me as Arts minister because they represent the work of many thousands of Territory artists from the desert to the islands. They are artists who are emblematic of both ancient tradition as well as contemporary innovation and, as such, give us all great hope for the future. Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mrs MILLER (Katherine): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, as this is my first response as the shadow minister for Arts and Museums, I have to say that this is a portfolio to which I look forward. Museums and the arts industry is something that I have great delight in and I participate in quite regularly. My husband can attest to that. He says: Do not go near any of that because it is going to cost me money. I have quite a bit of art at home. I appreciate it - and most of it is indigenous art. I also have quite a bit of it in my office that I am very proud to have on display, especially a lot of Paddy Fordhams to which I have taken a particular liking.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.