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Not so Aussie Australian products in firing line

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
24 October 2018 1 minute readShare
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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”.

Not so Aussie Australian products in firing line
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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