SYDNEY, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Australian indigenous art supplier, Birubi Art, has been fined 1.6 million U.S. dollars for selling items including didgeridoos and boomerangs which falsely claimed were made by local Aboriginal artists.
The penalty was handed down by the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, with the intention of protecting indigenous culture and deterring similar misrepresentations from occurring in the future.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accused Birubi Art of selling 50,000 boomerangs, didgeridoos, bullroarers and message stones between 2015 and 2017.
"Birubi's actions were extremely serious. Not only did they mislead consumers, they were liable to cause offence and distress to Australian Aboriginal people," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
The items featured images, symbols and designs resembling that of the indigenous Australians, along with claims of being "Authentic Aboriginal Art" and "Hand Painted", in order to enhance their value.
"Engagement in the Indigenous Australian art industry is extremely important to a significant number of Australian Aboriginal people, especially those in remote regions," Court said.
"The ACCC took this action because the misleading conduct has the potential to undermine the integrity of the industry and reduce opportunities for Australian Aboriginal peoples," Court said.
Court also said that the ACCC will be monitoring traders of indigenous Australian art and souvenirs to ensure confidence in the Indigenous Australian art industry and will take action against those who mislead consumers about the nature of their products.