Legislation, standards & forms

Collections Law: Legal Issues for Australian Archives, Galleries, Libraries & Museums

This online publication, authored by Shane Simpson, and several other well known museum industry people focuses on the subject of the business and law of public collecting organisations in Australia. It is intended that it be a suitable reference guide for public museums, libraries, archives and galleries in Australia.

This website and its material are only a summary of the subject matter covered and are no substitute for legal or professional advice relevant to particular circumstances.

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Australian Government ComLaw

The Federal Register of Legislation (the Legislation Register) is the authorised whole-of-government website for Commonwealth legislation and related documents. It contains the full text and details of the lifecycle of individual laws and the relationships between them.The Legislation Register is managed by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in accordance with the Legislation Act 2003.

Here are some relevant pieces of legislation for Australasian Registrars Committee members:

Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986

The Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986  protects Australia’s movable cultural heritage and provides for the return of foreign cultural property which has been illegally exported from its country of origin and imported into Australia. It gives effect to Australia’s agreement to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970.

If you buy cultural material in Australia or from overseas, you need to do your research before buying to ensure your purchase is compliant with relevant cultural property laws.

View the Act.

Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013

An Act to encourage the loan of objects from overseas for temporary public exhibition in Australia, and for related purposes.

View the Act.


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Collections Trust

The Collections Trust is the professional association for collections management. Established in 1977, it is a UK-based charity that works worldwide with museums, libraries, galleries and archives to improve the management and use of their collections. It does this by providing know-how, developing and promoting excellence, challenging existing practices, pioneering new ideas and bringing experts together.

Visit the site.

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New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata

The New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata (PCO) is responsible for drafting and publishing most of New Zealand’s legislation. The PCO is New Zealand’s law drafting office. It is responsible for drafting New Zealand Government Bills (except Inland Revenue Bills) and Legislative Instruments and publishing all New Zealand Bills, Acts, and Legislative Instruments, both in hard copy and online on the New Zealand Legislation website.

Here are some relevant pieces of legislation for Australasian Registrars Committee members:

Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008

The Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act (2008) amended the Copyright Act 1994 to bring the law into step with technological advances. The new legislation provides a more technology-neutral framework for existing copyright law and introduces some new copyright concepts. View the Act

Arms Legislation Act 2020 and Arms Act 2003

The Arms Legislation Act (2020) amends the Arms Act 2003 requiring New Zealand museums to hold a ‘Dealer’s licence’ to collect, hold and display arms. Links to the 2021 NZ Police Q&A sheet and YouTube zui (recording duration 56 mins approx.) related the changes can be found on the Museums Aotearoa webpage here

View the Arms Legislation Act 2020

View the Arms Act 2003


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