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Thursday, 4 June 1987
Page: 4073

(Question No. 5380)


Mr Connolly asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 7 May 1987:

1. Has his Department held discussions with Aboriginal artists and arts organisations over their boycott of Aboriginal Arts Australia's attempts to centralise promotion and sale.

2. On what basis was this move taken by his Department.

3. What are the artists' objections to this move.

4. Under what body are these functions to be co-ordinated.

5. What is the annual budget and staffing of this organisation and will these be increased to cover the new arrangements.

6. Is this organisation profitable.

7. For what reasons has his Department taken over this function from successful private organisations and placed them under a Government body.

8. What attempts has his Department made to meet the demands of Aboriginal artists who have placed a boycott on dealing with the Government agency since 2 April 1987.

9. Are buyers for Inada Holdings still operating and entering Aboriginal land without permits at Yirrkala.

10. Will his Department establish a review of these matters before proceeding any further with this move.


Mr Holding —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

1. Desite rumours circulating in the Aboriginal arts community and statements by the Association of Northern and Central Australian Artists Association (ANCAAA), there has been no attempt by Aboriginal Arts Australia Ltd to centralise promotion and sale of Aboriginal Art. Further there has been no suggestion on the part of Government, the Aboriginal Development Commission or the Department of Aboriginal Affairs that that company or any other organisation assume such a centralised or controlling role. I am aware of the present boycott on sales to Aboriginal Arts Australia Ltd imposed by the ANCAAA and I have written to the Association indicating my willingness to meet and discuss with its representatives matters of concern to its members. I have also indicated publicly my general concern that returns and accountability to Aboriginal artists in respect of sales of their work could be improved and within my own portfolio have held preliminary discussions with the Aboriginal Development Commission and Aboriginal Arts Australia Ltd about upgrading their operations in financing, distribution and marketing of Aboriginal Art.

2. Not applicable. See (1) above.

3. As indicated above there is no move to centralise the promotion and sale of Aboriginal art through Aboriginal Arts Australia Ltd or any other organisation. Nevertheless ANCAAA has introduced the boycott in support of independently owned and controlled craft centres and I understand is also seeking an ongoing commitment to funding support for itself. As mentioned above I have written to the Association indicating my willingness to meet with its representatives and discuss its concerns.

4. Not applicable. See (1) above.

5. Not applicable. See (1) above.

6. Not applicable. See (1) above.

7. No function of marketing or promotion of Aboriginal art has been taken over from private organisations and placed under a Government body.

8. See (1) and (3) above.

9. I am seeking information from Aboriginal Arts Australia Ltd on the matter raised in this part of the honourable member's question.

10. Not applicable. See (1) above.