Relocation and de-accessioning
The artist or creator of the public artwork must be contacted prior to relocating, removing, selling or de-accessioning the public artwork. Provided the commissioning agency has made every effort within reason to contact and notify the artist and receive a response, and has given the artist at least 30 days notice in writing of its intention to do so, it may remove the work from its location for the purposes of either relocating it (permanently or temporarily), selling it, making a gift of it, storing it or otherwise disposing of the work. In the event that the work is to be disposed of, other than through the sale or donation of the work, the artist will be given the option to acquire the work. The regulations to the Copyright (Moral Rights) Amendment Act 2000 prescribes how artists are to be informed of changes to artworks that may affect their moral rights.
De-accessioning of public art
De-accessioning a work of public art is the process by which an object is approved for removal from its site and the removal is documented. Once a public artwork is de-accessioned, it is usually disposed of by sale, gift, exchange or destruction. These decisions should be based on objective criteria and it is essential that de-accessioning and disposal of public art be carried out in a legal and ethical manner.
Collections Law: Legal Issues for Australian Archives, Galleries, Libraries and Museums has a useful article ‘Deaccessioning of Material from the Collection’ accessible at