A company marketing iconic Aussie products with suggestions they were made in Australia has drawn strong criticism after they were found to have been manufactured overseas.
Birubi Art, which sells Aboriginal-themed souvenirs and art to retailers across the country, was accused by the ACCC of insinuating that their merchandise was made in Australia when their products were in fact made in Indonesia.
The ACCC launched legal action against it in the Federal Court, claiming that Birubi Art sold more than 18,000 boomerangs, didgeridoos, bullroarers and message stones to retailers nationally between July 2015 and November 2017.
The products, it claimed, were falsely described as being “genuine” examples of “Aboriginal Art”, despite being manufactured in Indonesia.
The Federal Court agreed that these assertions were blatantly inaccurate.
“The artwork, images and statements used by Birubi suggested a relationship between Australian Aboriginal people and the production of the products which did not exist,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.
“It was unacceptable that Birubi sold Indonesian-made products as having being hand painted by Australian Aboriginal persons when that was not the case.”
A separate company has accused the ACCC of bullying small businesses into paying infringement notices, after the regulator accused it of the same tactics - despite the company disputing these assertions.
In 2016, Dave Bell of bag and outdoor gear manufacturer BOgear told My Business that he was “fiercely proud” of having products made here in Australia and saw considerable market value in that point.
So much so that Mr Bell joined the official Australian Made Campaign, which he said almost immediately saw “a lot more international sales come through”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.