NAVA is actively involved in a number of areas of advocacy to improve the fundamental conditions of work and practice. 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 policy adviser for the visual arts, craft and design sector and its artists. It has led numerous successful campaigns which have secured important rights for artists.

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

NAVA’s current advocacy focus is ensuring art is recognised as work and that payments to artists and arts workers are supported by legislation. We are actively engaged in several ongoing initiatives aligned with Revive, contributing to a national Arts Workforce Plan, and striving to improve conditions of work and practice in the visual arts, craft and design sector. 

First Nations

NAVA is committed to promoting self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Self-determination is the internationally recognised right for Indigenous peoples to control their own affairs, maintain their culture and heritage, and determine their own future.

As part of this commitment to the right of self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NAVA:

  • is committed to consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as an integral part of the planning process when implementing initiatives and programs; 
  • acknowledges that NAVA must be accountable to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community both within NAVA and the broader community; and
  • is committed to ensuring First Nations representation on the Board and in areas of governance for NAVA.

Art Industry Research

NAVA’s advocacy work is grounded in research, either commissioned or conducted in-house, focusing on the dynamics of Australian visual and media arts, craft and design. This research informs policies and strategic actions aimed at facilitating the sector’s fruitful development.

Ethics and Art Support

A major risk for art organisations entering into a relationship with either private or public sector supporters is potential reputational damage from associating with a brand misaligned with stakeholder values. Such a misalignment can result in artists boycotting cultural events, negative media and community backlash against both the arts organisation and its business partner. 

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of Expression is a universal human right, particularly valued by artists. However, in Australia, the right lacks effective legal protection, often leading to confusion and contention over artists’ work. NAVA asserts that artists, as historians, commentators, and critics of society, should be free to create art about any subject and by any means, provided it is within the law.

Intellectual Property

NAVA advocates for the fair entitlement of artists and designers to control the use of their Intellectual Property (IP). NAVA plays an important role in championing the protection of artists' and designers' economic and moral rights, both legally and in practice. Throughout its history, NAVA has frequently taken action on behalf of artists whose IP is used without consent or who are pressured into waiving their rights.

National Craft Initiative

The National Craft Initiative (NCI), was 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 (PPSA)

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.

Social Benefits Schemes

Although artists are often extremely enterprising and entrepreneurial, the precarious nature of their profession sometimes necessitates the need to seek social security support.


NAVA asserts it is good practice for employers who are contracting artists or arts workers for their labour to pay superannuation on top of an artist fee, regardless of whether the contractor is a deemed worker or not. It is recommended that this is paid directly into a contractor’s chosen super fund. 


NAVA actively monitors the impacts of the tax system on art and artists. NAVA advocates for tax incentives to encourage investment in t artworks by living Australian artists and seeks to secure tax exemptions for government grants awarded to artists.

Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS)

NAVA continues to assert that the Australian visual and media arts, craft and design sector requires adequate support through VACS from governments at all levels. This support is imperative for the sector’s sustainability and to unlock its full potential nationally and internationally.