Inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Products to be Banned at Queen Vic Market
Wednesday 5 October 2022
Queen Victoria Market will ban the sale of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products, taking action ahead of a proposed national code of conduct.
The decision by the Market to adopt a leadership position on this issue comes after the Productivity Commission in August signalled new laws, likely to come into effect in late 2023, to protect authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and other products. The Commission found two in every three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-style souvenirs sold in Australia are inauthentic, with no connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In response to growing concerns about the authenticity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products Australia-wide, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp encouraged Market management to begin taking action now on this issue by banning the sale of inauthentic products of this nature.
Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos said selling inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products was out of step with contemporary Australian values and expectations.
“Many people would be surprised that this kind of thing is going on right across Australia in 2022,” he said.
“Selling inauthentic products isn’t just disrespectful to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and dishonest to customers, it also undercuts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and legitimate artists who are trading in authentic items and trying to make a living.
“We’re not waiting for new national laws to come into place – we’re acting now.”
Mr Liacos thanked the Lord Mayor and the City of Melbourne for their strong advocacy on the issue.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said as the world’s oldest living culture, the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is incredibly rich, and must be protected.
“By preventing the sale of these inauthentic products at Queen Victoria Market, we are creating opportunities for the sale of authentic items that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and show greater respect to Traditional Landowners.
“The City of Melbourne will continue to strongly support measures that further amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Melbourne, and the rest of Australia,” she said.
Mr Liacos said the Market will work closely with traders to phase out the sale of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products from 1 July 2023.
“We’ll be taking a collaborative approach,” Mr Liacos said. “We know our traders aren’t knowingly doing the wrong thing and we’ll be supporting affected businesses to transition their product mix.”
The ban is an important part of acknowledging the significance of the Market site and surrounding area to the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, who are the Traditional Owners of the land the Market now occupies.
He also said the ban on inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products is part of wider efforts to gradually improve the standard and variety of merchandise sold at the Market, in line with long-term customer feedback and in a manner that supports traders.
“While we remain committed to ensuring there will always be a wide range of products available at the Market to suit all budgets, today’s announcement is part of a range of improvements to modernise the Market while protecting those things that make it much-loved by locals and visitors.”
Media contact: Ben Jessup 0456 595 380 or email.