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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 8465

Mrs MOYLAN (12:53 PM) —I am very pleased to finally have a chance to rise to speak to the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Bill 2008, but I see that the hour is late and we will shortly adjourn, so I hope to reserve my right to continue this speech at a later time.

Australia is indeed blessed with a vibrant and talented arts community. Artists from all over the country are making an invaluable contribution to enriching the lives and fabric of communities right around the country. Artists who produce material that can be readily distributed, such as musicians, poets and authors, receive royalty payments for their work. Conversely, visual artists currently have no mechanism to profit from the resale of their work. The aim of this bill, therefore, is to rectify the situation for all Australian visual artists, such as painters, sculptors and photographers, as well as artists who make fine art textiles and jewellery, to name a few.

The hills—and the valleys—in my electorate are alive not only with the sound of music; they are also alive with the vibrancy of wonderful art because Pearce is a place, indeed a hub, for some of the best-known artists in the country if not the world—people of the calibre of artists Robert Juniper and Wim Boissevain, and sculptors such as Ron Gomboc, who was an early contributor to Sculpture by the Sea and has been very much at the forefront of developing that concept in Western Australia. So one of the more pleasurable aspects of my job as the member for Pearce, when I am travelling around the electorate, is having the chance to view some of the incredible work that is produced by many of the artists and displayed by many of the galleries and at many of the exhibitions that are held within the electorate of Pearce and beyond.

Earlier this year I attended an art exhibition within my constituency, at the Mundaring Arts Centre. It was the premiere of the exhibition, as part of the centre’s 30th birthday anniversary, titled On Fire—a perhaps appropriate and much-discussed subject just at the moment. The exhibition examined the ways we experience, understand and appreciate fire in our communities, and works by artists such as Jenny Armati, Robert Juniper, Jude Taylor and Brian McKay and sculptor Hans Arkeveld were featured, with an auction of their works which raised in excess of $50,000. That particular evening demonstrates, I think, that, while many artists often live and work on very limited budgets, they are some of the most generous people when it comes to supporting charity. In fact, it was only a couple of months ago that Robert Juniper donated two of his fine works when we held a long-table lunch in the Swan Valley in my electorate in conjunction with Diabetes Western Australia to raise money to support people with diabetes. He is an enormously generous artist, as are many of the artists I have got to know in the electorate of Pearce.

The dilemma of artists being paid and earning ongoing royalties for the work they produce is certainly not unique to this time or place, for it was in France nearly 90 years ago that a right-to-resell royalty was first introduced. This meant that when an artist’s work was resold they were entitled to receive a percentage of the sale price as a royalty payment. The aim was to ensure that artists were able to share in the success of the work that they had created and to recognise the intellectual property rights artists should have over their work, in line with other art forms. Since then, over 30 countries around the globe have introduced systems to enable visual artists to receive money when their works are resold. Here in Australia, key groups such as the National Association for the Visual Arts have been campaigning for resale royalties for some 20 years.

The introduction of these measures has received widespread support, although there have been a number of key concerns, and I think some of those concerns still remain. But in essence this bill will introduce a system whereby a five per cent royalty is collected and distributed to an artist after their original work is resold in a commercial market for more than $1,000. The five per cent of the resale price is not capped, and it will be collected by a central agency unless the individual artist opts to collect the royalty themselves. This right will exist for the life of the artist and for 70 years beyond their death. I think it is very pleasing to know that their children and perhaps their grandchildren will be able to inherit some of the benefit of their work.

There were a number of submissions to the bill inquiry conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts, as well as information published by key artist representative groups, and it seemed the bulk of concerns rested with the requirement that the royalty right is only attached to works acquired after this bill comes into effect.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. KJ Andrews)—Order! It being one o’clock, the debate must be adjourned. The member will have leave to continue her remarks when the debate is resumed.