Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Tuesday 2 October 1990 believe that copying of this art is probably covered under 2 federal acts - the Trade Practices Act of 1974 and the Copyright Act of 1968 - and that anyone who sells products of a misleading or deceptive nature could be prosecuted under these acts. It is obvi ous . that, because of the low value of these items, most people would not take any action under that legislation. However, I believe that the cheap imitations which are coming into Australia have the potential to damage what could be a future industry in the Northern Territory. I understand that half of the Aboriginal artists in Australia come from the Northern Territory and I bel i eve that, as the parl i ament of the ~orthern Territory, we should take a lead in this area. Last week, I showed samples of various items to all members in the Assembly. The prices are very interesting. The copied bracelets retail for $20 whilst the genuine article retails at $40. The artist overseas receives only $1 for the $20 product whilst, in Australia, the artist receives $18 for the $40 product. The copied earrings retail for $8 whilst the genuine articles retail for $30. The artist overseas receives 56 of the $8 and the artist in Australia receives $10 for every $30 article. Honourable members will be able to see that, whilst probably we cannot prevent copies being made and brought into Austral ia, we have what constitutes almost an obl igation to protect our local industry. Many of these products are advertised as being made in Australia but, in fact, they are not. Many shops stock a mixture of genuine articles and copi es. The bottom 1 i ne is that Abori gi nal peop 1 e do not have a great .dea 1 going for them, but this is an opportunity for them to .move into an expanding industry. I have tried to ascertain just how large this industry is; The only information that I could find was in a research paper by the Australia Council which surveyed visitors who travelled to Australia with international airlines. The summary of findings is very interesting, and I wi 11 refer to parts of it. Half of the visitors to Australia are interested in seeing and learning about Aboriginal arts and culture, and 30% of the visitors surveyed purchased Aboriginal art or items relating to Aboriginal culture. The value of these purchases is estimated at $30m per annum, most of which accrues as a direct economic benefit for Australia. Almost 1 in 5 visitors went to an art gallery or museum especially to see Aboriginal art. Visitors from the USA, Canada and continental Europe are the most interested in Aboriginal arts and culture and were the most frequent buyers of Aboriginal art and souvenirs. Only a small percentage of visitors were able to see a performance of Aboriginal theatre, music or dance. I am attempting to give some idea of how large this industry is potentially. The survey showed that 14% or $4. 2m of these purchases were made in the Northern Territory. If this is added to the $3m paid to the 2500 Territory Aboriginal artists for works sold through the states, $7.2m went into the Territory economy. I was heartened by the Chief Minister's response to my question. He sai d that he would exami ne the matter. I bel i eve that the Terri tory government and this Assembly should apply whatever pressure they can to the Austral ian government to ensure that copies that are broughti nto thj s country have some form of identification indicating where they were. made and the fact that they are imitations. In addition, we should police this and provide some form of certificate of authenticity for the work done by our Territory Aboriginals. That might take the, form of a logo or a stamp. Indeed, possibly the government should consider providing some form of guarantee that a product is genuine. There are guarantees overseas for jewellery and so on. 10 718