The Katter Australia Party leader stands alongside Indigenous mayors visiting Canberra and pledges to ramp-up the campaign against fake Aboriginal art.
18 Jun 2018 - 4:24 PM  UPDATED 18 Jun 2018 - 4:38 PM

Federal Independent MP Bob Katter has spent his first day back in Parliament renewing calls to stop the sale of fake Indigenous art.

The Member for Kennedy was joined by a number of Indigenous mayors from Queensland and representatives directly affected by the trade to reinforce his plans to put a stop to the scam.

"Our First Australians are being taken for big a ride," he said. "It appears that around 80-maybe-90 per cent of all supposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts are not made in Australia, nor painted or designed in Australia but in fact are made overseas."

Mr Katter said said the industry is "reputed to be worth between $25-30 million per year".

Last year Mr Katter re-introduced a bill into Parliament which would make it illegal to sell fake and imported 'Aboriginal-style' art which in turn would keep jobs and an income stream open for Indigenous artists and communities. 

It comes in response to calls from First Nations groups including the Indigenous Art Code, Arts Law Australia and the Copyright Council of Australia.

Mr Katter said he will continue championing the legislation and ensure there will be a division to count the vote.

"We serve notice on the major parties," he said. "We put this before the Parliament six months ago and they've run us around in circles. There will no running around in circles." 

He issued a warning to members of the Liberal Party. 

"If you are Liberals and you vote against this division of the house at your own peril. Because we will making sure every community is made aware of that." 

Mayor Ross Andrews from the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council said the sale of fake art is detrimental to artists and communities.  

"I think it's very offensive - it's fake and it's exploitation of First Australians," he said. 

In August last year, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs adopted an inquiry into the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘style’ art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia. The inquiry was referred by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion.

Committee Chair Melissa Price MP said "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities rely on revenue obtained through the sale of hand-made and culturally authentic products". 

"The aims of the inquiry are to identify ways to prevent the exploitation and misuse of Indigenous culture through the proliferation of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products," she said. 

More than 150 submissions were received. Public hearings have already been held most parts of the country with two to take place in Canberra in the next fortnight. 

It comes after the 'Fake Art Harms Culture' campaign to lobby the government to address the proliferation of fake Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and related products was introduced in 2016. 

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