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Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre shop items
Photograph: Visit Victoria/Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Queen Victoria Market ban all inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products

After the Productivity Commission found two in every three sold in Australia are inauthentic

Written by
Bianca O'Neill

Queen Victoria Market has announced it will ban all inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products sold at the market within the next year.

The market decided to take a proactive approach, with encouragement from Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp, after the Productivity Commission signalled new laws to protect authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products back in August. The laws are likely to come into effect in late 2023.

The commission found that a whopping two in every three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-style souvenirs sold in Australia are inauthentic, and have no connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. QVM did not include any stats on what percentage of its own products are inauthentic.

“Many people would be surprised that this kind of thing is going on right across Australia in 2022,” says Queen Victoria Market CEO, Stan Liacos. “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.”

Liacos announced that the market will work with traders over the next year in order to phase out the sale of inauthentic products, starting from July 1, 2023. The announcement appears to be in line with a broader strategy to improve the offering of products market-wide.

“We’ll be taking a collaborative approach,” he says. “We know our traders aren’t knowingly doing the wrong thing and we’ll be supporting affected businesses to transition their product mix.”

The media release also acknowledged that the upcoming ban is an important part of acknowledging the significance of the site to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, the traditional owners of the land the market now occupies.

“By preventing the sale of these inauthentic products at Queen Victoria Market," says Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, "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."

ICYMI: Vic government kicks in $500k to bring two rare Wurundjeri artworks home.

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