Arts Law has made a submission to the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), who are currently seeking input on the design of a new ‘Remote Engagement Program’ to replace the existing Community Development Program (CDP) in remote communities. The CDP is a program in which job seekers in remote Australia were required to participate in minimum hours of ‘activities’ to be entitled to certain benefit payments (in other words, work for the dole). The NIAA has said that consultation on the new Remote Engagement Program will be ongoing until the new program is implemented in 2023.
Arts Law’s submission raises the following issues:
- The importance of ensuring best practice contracts are put in place between providers and participants in the program to protect the rights and interests of participants involved in art activities (including copyright, moral rights, and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property). Additionally, because providers are in positions of power in remote communities, they should be accountable to both the government and the community, with regular monitoring to prevent abuses of power and lack of delivery.
- The valuable role that Indigenous art centres play in remote Australia, and the importance of designing the Remote Engagement Program in a way that enhances and supports art centres rather than undercuts and competes with them. Art centres are artist-run, Indigenous-owned organisations and one of the few reliable sources of employment in remote Australia. They have unique expertise about the Indigenous art market. The new program should, where possible, empower these art centres and require providers to engage constructively with them.
Arts Law’s submission was endorsed by the Indigenous Art Code.