Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3887 representative organisations such as Desart and ANKAAA. I am familiar with the work Desart does right across Central Australia to support both arts centres and individual artists. Desart has often been the first port of call for artists in distress and, through their advocacy and mediation, many artists have been assisted to escape the clutches of unethical dealers as well as deal with breaches of copyright and intellectual property issues. Desart now has 41 member organisations that provide standard contracts for Aboriginal artists and assist arts centres with accessing legal and business advice. Desart members tell me that they are very appreciative of the valuable Networking the Nation program, which has seen the installation of state-of-the-art IT equipment, software and networking for remote art centres over the last few years. I support the minister in her commendation of the industry organisations, Desart in Alice Springs and Central Australia and ANKAAA in the Top End and Kimberley. Their Aboriginal executives have shown leadership and commitment, and their staff have worked effectively for the indigenous visual arts industry. I support the minister in her commitment of support for indigenous visual arts and crafts. Like her, I can see the industry provides hope for Aboriginal people, their culture and enterprises. With the support of all levels of government and, hopefully, with bipartisan support, our Northern Territory indigenous artists will continue to produce art that is a source of pride for all Australians. I hope the Senate inquiry results in actions to clean up the industry, actions which remove unethical elements, and puts in place strong, long-term, whole-of-government policies that result in well-deserved support and investment in indigenous visual arts and crafts enterprises. Mr Deputy Speaker, finally, I acknowledge traditional culture and the resilience of traditional culture. I acknowledge the strength and adaptability of the Aboriginal artists whose contemporary art works have taken them from the dreamtime to the world stage. Ms MARTIN (Chief Minister): Mr Deputy Speaker, I support the statement from the Minister for Arts and Museums, predominantly from the point of view of the responsibility I have for Asian Relations and Trade; that is, the trade component. Of course, before the current minister had the Arts and Museums portfolio, I had it for four years so it is something very dear to my heart. It is such a wonderful industry with such hope for the Territory and for Aboriginal people. I have been delighted to hear the words spoken by both the minister and the member for Stuart. Aboriginal arts and crafts is attracting worldwide attention and acclaim, leading to some of our Territory artists having work included in the collections of major international galleries and museums. I must say I am very envious of the ministers visit to the Musee du quai Branly in Paris to view the indigenous art exhibition last year. It must have been wonderful to see our artists works appreciated by so many people on the other side of the world. It is important, however, that we do not focus on the high end of Aboriginal arts and craft. There are around 5000 practising Aboriginal visual artists and crafts people in the Territory. We have all heard of Minnie Pwerte and Rover Thomas, but there are many lesser known artists who derive income, satisfaction, expression and independence from their art work. As you know, Mr Deputy Speaker, the indigenous arts and craft industry is a significant contributor to the Territory economy and, for this reason, I am particularly pleased that one of the first projects to emerge from our Indigenous Arts Strategy was the development of an Export Action Plan, an initiative of the Department of the Chief Minister. The plan has been put in place to develop more export earnings, and to increase revenues and financial returns to our artists and art centres. It is a case of building on success. Aboriginal arts and crafts are being exported to more than 50 countries around the world. In addition, there are thousands of purchases of art and craft by tourists visiting the Territory and other parts of Australia, as well as over the Internet, after which works are mailed to buyers around the world. The statistics show that our largest export markets are Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the USA. These and other international marketplaces are becoming more discerning, and are keen to invest in genuine Aboriginal art work; this is, of course, artwork which has the correct providence. The development of export markets is an extremely resource intensive activity. An art centre, for example, often only has one or two people managing and coordinating its many different functions. There is often little time left in the day for these dedicated people to turn their minds to other things, let alone the complexities of exporting. For a large number of artists and art centres, the cost of export marketing, which involves the production of artwork, introducing the artwork into the marketplace and exhibiting to potential buyers, is often too expensive.