Legislative Council: Thursday, September 14, 2023


APY Art Centre Collective

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:30): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Attorney representing the Minister for Arts.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Attorney and the Minister for Arts would be very well aware of the inquiries that have been undertaken into the APY Arts Centre Collective over the course of this year. I note that the National Gallery has now concluded their investigation, but the multistate and federal review continues. The APY Arts Centre Collective have pledged to offer all cooperation to the current investigation that the South Australian government is part of. My question, however, to the minister is: has The Australian newspaper handed over the entirety of the video footage that sparked this entire situation?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:31): I thank the honourable member for her question. Yes, although it rests with the South Australian arts minister, the Hon. Andrea Michaels, the member for Enfield, in relation to this matter, I am reasonably familiar with it, and I regularly visit all of the arts centres across the APY lands and was very pleased with the establishment of a new arts centre at Umoona in Coober Pedy.

Yes, the National Gallery conducted its own investigation into the exhibition, I think it was Ngura Pulka, big country, which looked at, as I understand it, the artistic provenance of I think it was 23 or 24 paintings that were part of that exhibition. The South Australian government, with minister Andrea Michaels as the minister responsible, along with the Northern Territory government, with the arts minister Chansey Paech, and the Australian government, with the federal arts minister, Tony Burke, is undertaking an inquiry that is, as I understand it, significantly broader than the provenance of a group of paintings but looking at other issues to do with the operations and management of the APY Arts Centre Collective.

I regularly have discussions with people who are members of the APY Arts Centre Collective that I have links to as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and cultural ties to, and certainly have had a number of discussions, and there is a desire, which I support and I know the government is supporting, to do this as quickly as possible. It is not a welcome situation that anyone finds themselves in with what has been occurring.

In relation to the member's specific question about footage from The Australian newspaper, I don't know if that's been handed over either to the work that the National Gallery undertook in relation to their inquiry or in relation to the state inquiry that is occurring. I will certainly pass that on to the people who are conducting the review—the suggestion that was made or the inquiry that was made here—for them to take into account.