More than $4m in royalties generated from resale scheme

August 5, 2016

Nyurpaya KaikaPhoto: Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Nyurpaya Kaika. Photo: Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Six years after it began, Australia’s resale royalty scheme has generated more than $4 million for artists, with more than half of those artists living and working in remote and regional Australia.

More than 12,800 eligible artworks have been resold, well above predicted expectations for the scheme, returning a 5 per cent royalty to 1200 artists and providing them with invaluable information on the provenance and changing value of their work.

CEO of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling, says the scheme’s particular success in delivering rewards to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists is evident.

“In total, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists received $1.4 million since 2010. Some 40 per cent of the artists paid under the scheme live in the Northern Territory, while another 16 per cent live in South Australia and Western Australia – mostly near the centre.”

Of the Top 20 Australian artists earning royalties, five (25 per cent) are Aboriginal and four of those are women.

“The scheme has delivered several positives: much-needed income to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, and importantly, information to artists on the changing value of their work as it progresses through the secondary art market,” Mr Suckling says. “Artists Australia-wide have welcomed these changes.”

“The scheme’s success has been recognised overseas as an international benchmark, with some countries, such as Canada and China, looking to introduce the scheme.”

Most royalties being paid have been between $50 and $500 and more than 66 per cent of royalties have been paid directly to living artists, with the remainder paid to artists’ estates and beneficiaries. Artists from emerging to senior, remote to urban, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous are participants in the scheme, demonstrating the importance of the right to them.

Artist Nyurpaya Kaika, who works from the Tjala Arts centre in the APY Lands, says, “It’s fair. When the collector makes some money from the sale of the work, so does that Aboriginal artist who is still in community, working hard on their artwork, and trying to make a better future for their kids. This resale royalty might be important for all artists, but it is really important for Aboriginal artists.”

Resale rights are recognised in 81 countries.

For more information on the resale royalty scheme, go to