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Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan

PCOL and immunity from suit and seizure

The Australian Government’s Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme (PCOL Scheme) has been established to administer the Commonwealth Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 (PCOL Act). The PCOL Act was established to encourage international lenders to lend works for temporary public exhibition in Australia. The Act limits the circumstances in which the lender, exhibiting institution, exhibition facilitator, and people working for them can lose ownership, possession, custody or control of an object through legal proceedings or seizure while the work is in Australia. In order to be eligible for protection under the Act, the works must be loaned by a lender ordinarily resident or incorporated in a country outside Australia or the government of another country, and the works must be imported into Australia for the primary purpose of temporary public display. The works will be protected from the date of import, until they are exported from the country.

Further information about the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act and Scheme can be found on the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts website.

PCOL and the Gallery

The Art Gallery of NSW is an approved borrowing institution under the PCOL Act.

Before entering into a loan arrangement, the Gallery conducts due diligence research into the provenance of works of art to be borrowed. We also undertake due diligence for works acquired into our collection. For further information, see:

In compliance with the PCOL Act and to ensure transparency in relation to all protected loans, the Gallery will publish information about all works to be protected under the Act prior to their import and until they are exported from the country. Information about currently protected loans is provided on this page.

Enquiries and claims

The Gallery welcomes enquiries regarding a work that will be, or has been, imported into Australia for temporary exhibition. To enquire or register a concern, email pcol@ag.nsw.gov.au

To assist us to investigate and respond promptly to enquiries, please provide the following information:

  • the claimant’s name, address and best contact details
  • where the claimant is acting on behalf of another party, that person’s name, contact details and relationship to the claimant (The Gallery acknowledges that the claimant or other party may wish to remain anonymous and will undertake to keep their identity confidential, within the limits of its obligations under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act or other legal and ethical requirements)
  • a summary of the inquiry or claim
  • copies of any supporting documentation or evidence relating to the claim or enquiry

The Gallery takes claims very seriously and will respond in a manner that is both respectful and considered, as outlined in our provenance and due diligence research policy. To allow us to investigate and respond appropriately, we may take up to 28 days to reply.