Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

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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





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3883 artists to help them better understand their rights in the arts marketplace. Most relevant to the issue of exploitation in the industry are the Artists in Work and Other Side of the Coin initiatives, which I will now discuss. Artists in Work is a strategy to increase the participation of indigenous people in the arts sector through employment opportunities such as traineeships, scholarships, employer incentives and general positions. This initiative has a budget of $0.655m over three years from 2005 to 2008. The Other Side of the Coin is designed to protect and promote indigenous cultural and intellectual property by providing the tools, information and resources required by indigenous artists to protect their works of art and to ensure a better understanding of the marketplace. This initiative is budgeted at $0.3m over two years from 2006 to 2008. The Australian governments Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program funds activities to retain and revive Australias indigenous languages. It supports activities that help to maintain the strength of languages that are widely spoken and that preserve and revive endangered languages where there are a limited number of elderly speakers. The Indigenous Culture Support program supports the maintenance of cultural practice within indigenous communities, and the promotion of indigenous cultures as dynamic and integral elements of Australian culture and identity. The Indigenous Culture Support program funds activities that encourage culturally vibrant indigenous communities. These activities, while based on traditional practices, are developed in a creative environment and contribute to the cultural identity and wellbeing of indigenous individuals and communities. Indigenous art has, obviously, been popular in the Northern Territory for many years with both locals and tourists, and the interest is ever-increasing as time goes by. There are many and varied cultural interpretations from so many different areas throughout the Territory. My experience in the earlier years when we first arrived was that there were a few artists who, whenever they came to town and needed a few extra dollars, did some artwork and brought it along with them and sold it for whatever they could, wherever they could, so they could have some extra money. Some of the art and craft work at that stage was very good, but some of it was ordinary and painted quickly with the idea of getting a few extra dollars. It is also fair to say that, in most cases, even for the well-presented art, these people would have been paid a minimal amount for their work. Fortunately, over the years there have been many changes which have occurred that have markedly improved the way indigenous art and craft is being marketed. This area is finally getting the respect it deserves, with ethical behaviour in the marketplace. I cannot say that has always been the case. Aboriginal visual arts and craft is a very good medium for many indigenous communities to instil pride and to be a great economic driver for their communities. There is no doubt that there will always be a demand for authentic art and craft items, especially from international tourists who seek out indigenous works wherever they travel. I support this governments efforts in developing the industry further in the years to come. I believe this is a very achievable way to making conditions so much better for many of the artists who are able to retail their works towards achieving independence in their communities. The work of many of these art pieces has increased in value in a short space of years, and it is to the credit of many of these art centres that the artist is paid appropriately. The minister spoke of unethical practices over the years, and she is quite right. I have witnessed it myself. I am sure many people here who have experienced Aboriginal communities and art and craft have seen the same thing happen. We now have some pieces of art being mass-produced in China, with attempts to sell it in Australia as authentic, so it is very good to see there is some control being put on that. This national framework to protect indigenous art and craft should see the demise of these rip-offs within the art and craft community. My colleague, the member for Greatorex, spoke to me yesterday regarding a microdot, a system developed in the Territory. I have not seen this myself, but he thought I should table a microdot if I could find one. He said it would probably fit as a spot on the end of my finger. Apparently, it is a way of identifying art and preventing forgeries. Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I thank the minister for her statement and look forward to the direction in which Aboriginal arts and craft is headed in the Northern Territory. Mr HAMPTON (Stuart): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I support the ministers statement. I share with the minister her pride in the Northern Territorys indigenous visual arts, which we are privileged to call our own. First, I acknowledge the invaluable contribution Aboriginal artists have made to this nation and, in particular, to the Northern Territory. We need to