Reuters reports:

Australian Aboriginal artists whose paintings sell for millions of dollars internationally but who often struggle for money will get a lifeline through a royalty charge imposed on Friday on their resold works.

In a pointer to the problem, a distinctive work by late indigenous artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was last year sold to the National Gallery of Australia for A$2.4 million ($1.8mln) after being originally purchased by a dealer for just A$2,500.

Many outback painters receive only meager payments for works later sold on by galleries or middlemen for thousands of dollars, often to collectors overseas or in Australia’s major cities, the center-left government said.

“By enshrining in law the right of artists and their heirs to receive a benefit from the secondary sale of their work, we are building an environment where the talent and creativity of visual artists receives greater reward,” Arts Minister Peter Garrett said.

Garrett, a former rock star, said a mandatory 5 percent royalty would apply to artworks sold for $1,000 or more. The resale royalty would apply to works by living artists and for a period of 70 years after an artist’s death.