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Wednesday, 25 September 2002
Page: 4800

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (9:33 AM) —I table the explanatory memorandum and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The National Gallery Amendment Bill 2002 amends the National Gallery Act 1975 to enable the National Gallery of Australia to gift a work of art, whether or not that work has a saleable value, subject to approval by the Gallery Council and the Minister.

Section 9 of the Act sets out the process for disposing of works of art from the national collection. Subsection 9(1) provides that where the Gallery Council is satisfied that a work of art is either unfit for the national collection, or is no longer required as part of the national collection, the Council may resolve that the work be disposed of by sale, gift or destruction. However, subsection 9(4) provides that the Council shall not resolve that a work of art be disposed of by way of gift or destruction unless the Council is satisfied that the work has no saleable value.

Subsection 9(5) requires any decision relating to the disposal of a work of art to be put to the Minister for approval.

The bill amends subsection 9(4) to allow the disposal of works with saleable value by gift. However, Council and Ministerial approval are still required.

One example of the difficulties imposed by subsection 9(4) relates to the Arthur Boyd works of art that were formally presented to the British Museum by the Minister in July 2000. Presently, these works of art are on long-term loan to the British Museum, but are unable to be publicly displayed due to an internal policy of the British Museum that prohibits the public display of works which are not in the collection. The Boyd works are therefore only available for scholars wanting to view them.

The amendment is expected to broaden the scope for the gifting of works to other institutions, including regional galleries within Australia. It will enable the National Gallery to have better long-term planning over the management of its collection, and will also assist the regional galleries with their own collection management.

Ordered that further consideration of the second reading of this bill be adjourned to the first day of the next period of sittings, in accordance with standing order 111.