NAVA is actively involved in a number of areas of advocacy to improve the working environment for artists and organisations. This includes leading campaigns for change targeting key decision makers and responding to government inquiries or calls for comment.

Julie Gough - NAVA watches our backs when we artists might be forgetting to do so

What We Do

Since its establishment in 1983, NAVA has been a highly effective advocate and expert policy adviser to key decision makers on behalf of Australian visual arts and artists. It acts as the public voice of the sector and has led many successful campaigns which have secured important rights for artists and improved conditions for the visual arts generally.

NAVA's advocacy successes have included securing substantial increases in funding through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS); Artists Moral Rights and the Artists Resale Royalty Legislation; establishment of Viscopy (the visual arts copyright agency) and the Australian Design Alliance, securing a tax ruling that allows artists to claim their art business expenses against all forms of income, a national arts curriculum in schools (in partnership with other members of the National Advocates for Arts Education), changes to the Sedition law to protect artists’ freedom of expression and many more.

NAVA works simultaneously on many issues, and decisions about which matters should take priority are made on the basis of importance, urgency or opportunity. We are always optimistic and work in the expectation that in time, we can ensure that art is central to Australian life.

Current Campaigns

What we're working on now

Protest sign - I am an artist and I pay tax

NAVA is currently working on a range of campaigns including ensuring that artists are paid fair and equitable rates for their work and royalties each time their work is resold, that every child in Australia has access to a quality art education and that the S2M sector, and service organisations continue to operate in every state. See how you can help NAVA support artists' rights and freedoms.

Art Industry Research

Informing policy and action

Bookshelf of visual arts research reports

Underpinning NAVA’s advocacy work is the research it commissions or undertakes itself into the nature of Australian visual and media arts, craft and design. This is used to identify policies and strategic actions which could be taken to facilitate the sector’s fruitful development.

Ethics and Art Support

Actions and Debates

Ethics, Money and Art event flyer

Design by Georgia Perry

The ethics of arts support became a much debated topic because of an art world controversy. The catalyst was the threat by some selected artists to withdraw their participation in the 2014 Biennale of Sydney because of the business activities of a major donor in winning a contract to provide services to refugee detention centres.

Freedom of Expression

Issues affecting artists


Freedom of Expression is a universal human right and is particularly valued by artists. However, in Australia it is not effectively protected in law. At times this can result in confusion and contention over artists’ work.

National Craft Initiative


Agenda for Australian Craft and Design

The now completed National Craft Initiative (NCI), a three-year partnership between the Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) and NAVA funded by the Australia Council for the Arts has generated events, discussions, ideas and strategies to ensure a vibrant and resilient future for craft and design.

Personal Property Securities Act


Artwork with 'Do not cross art scene' tape

Image by T. Winikoff

The Personal Property Securities Act is designed to protect artists from losing their work left on consignment if their gallery becomes insolvent. However it is a complex process, something that NAVA has tried to change.


Artists in Public Spaces


The Government is contemplating the introduction of privacy legislation. Depending on the terms, it could hinder the capacity of artists to take photos or make videos or films in public places or make art which draws on the observation of others.

Resale Royalty

Under threat?

Opening night at RIGHTNOW exhibition

Photo: Opening night for RIGHTNOW. L to R: Blak Douglas (aka Adam Hill), Tamara Winikoff, Matthew Johnson. Image by Sharon Hickey.

After a 20 year campaign, NAVA enthusiastically welcomed the introduction of the Resale Royalty Right for Australian artists in early December 2009 when the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Bill 2009 became law in Australia. NAVA believes it should be continued in its current form with some minor improvements.

Social Benefits Schemes

For Artists


Image: pixabay

Though artists are usually extremely enterprising and entrepreneurial, because of the precarious nature of their profession, sometimes they have the need to seek social security support.


For Artists

Artwork covered in a veil

Superannuation payments for artists as contractors, and changes to the rules relating to investment by Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs).


Artists and Tax

Jar labelled tax filled with money

NAVA keeps a watching brief on the impact of the tax system on art and artists. NAVA promotes the adoption of tax incentives to encourage investment in the purchase of work by living Australian artists and seeks tax exemptions on government grants to artists.


Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS)

$4,500 is the median annual income earned by visual artists for their creative work

Image by T. Andrew, 2014.

NAVA continues to assert that the Australian visual and media arts, craft and design sector needs to be adequately supported through the VACS by governments at all levels to ensure its sustainability and be able to achieve its potential nationally and internationally.

Visa 457


Sunglasses, passport on denim jacket

Currently foreign citizens can apply for a 457 visa to work in Australia as a skilled worker in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor for up to four years. On 18 April 2017 the Australian Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) will be abolished in March 2018 and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

Parliamentary Inquiries

NAVA responds to Parliamentary Inquiries regarding the Australian arts sector and issues that will affect Australian artists.