Copyright Agency has just announced a 5% increase in its administration fees on Resale Royalties, to take effect from 1 July 2015. This increase brings the service cost to 15%, in line with fees being charged by resale schemes internationally.

For an average transaction it will not have a major effect on payments being made to the artists. Since 2010 (when the Resale Royalty Scheme was first introduced) more than 10,000 resales, generating almost $3.4 million in payments to artists, have been reported. The highest payment has been $55,000, but on average the payments are recorded as being between $50 and $500, and on that basis a typical increase will be between $2.50 and $25. So on a $50 royalty, for example, CAL will now deduct a $7.50 (15%) admin fee, along with 1.5% (the 10% GST) which is payable to the Government, and $41.75 will be paid to the artist.

The Resale Royalty Scheme has been the subject of some debate. While dealers have claimed it harmful to trade, it has been regarded byAboriginal artists as a source of pride and an important moral rights recognition.

It is also a system which improves provenance, here argued by Russell Drysdale’s daughter, Lynne Clarke, putting the case for the importance of archival documentation and chronology of ownership in an opinion piece published by the Australian Financial Review earlier this year.

The number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists who have received royalties is stated as 65%, or approx 40% of the total royalties to date.