Reaching out to community to protect First Nations art

The Australian Government continues to seek community feedback on how to address the issue of fake First Nations-style art, with public engagement sessions underway across the country.

The sessions represent an important opportunity for community members to share their knowledge, experience and expertise to help craft Australia's first stand-alone legislation to protect First Nations traditional knowledge and cultural expressions—and address the harm caused by fake First Nations art, merchandise and souvenirs.

Face-to-face sessions have taken place at more than 19 locations so far across regional and metropolitan New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania. Further sessions in New South Wales and Northern Territory, and upcoming sessions in Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT, are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Everyone is welcome to attend with government keen to hear a broad range of views from the public, particularly First Nations artists and community members, arts organisations representatives and those with experience of copyright or arts law. Attendees can register online or just turn up on the day.

Those unable to participate in a face-to-face session can attend one of 3 online sessions, to be held in June, or submit a written submission by 15 June 2024.

The 2022 Productivity Commission report found more than half of all purchased merchandise and souvenirs with First Nations designs are inauthentic or are made without permission from Traditional Owners—causing detriment to First Nations artists, communities and culture.

The development of legislation to tackle this issue is a commitment under Revive, the National Cultural Policy, and will be developed through a First Nations-led process—ensuring any solution will be informed by and addresses the needs of First Nations people.

To register to attend an event or share your views online, visit: