Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Immunity From Seizure

* UPDATE: CAMD has welcomed the passage of the Commonwealth Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 which was assented to on 14 March 2013 *

CAMD is keen to ensure that domestic audiences continue to have the opportunity to see significant cultural material from around the world and also material originating from Australia and New Zealand which now resides overseas.  To this end, CAMD has worked closely with the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors (CAAMD) to encourage the development of immunity from seizure for cultural objects on loan legislation.

The current lack of legislation and/or legal assurances has made it increasingly difficult in recent years to organise the loan of items from international museums.

A lack of action on this issue could result in Australia and New Zealand becoming unattractive destinations for loans, both for exhibitions and research purposes.

CAMD strongly supports the development of national statutory schemes which encourage due diligence on the part of the borrower but delegates authority to accept loans to Government-funded collecting institutions which have been approved and accredited for this purpose.

It should be noted that CAMD supports the return of illegally acquired cultural property and the upholding of relevant international conventions to which Australia and New Zealand are a signatory but believes that these goals would not be circumvented by an immunity from seizure scheme.


CAMD welcomed the introduction of a bill to the Federal Government Parliament in 2012 to address this issue.  See: Media Release – Immunity legislation Dec 2012

The Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 was assented to on 14 March.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) has recently released a discussion paper on the development of an Immunity from Seizure for Cultural Objects on Loan policy.  See http://www.mch.govt.nz/immunity-seizure




Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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