Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan 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.

PCOL and the Library

The National Library of Australia 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 Library will publish information about all works to be protected under the Act a minimum of four weeks prior to their import until they are exported from the country. If an exhibition includes protected loan material, it will be accessible on the individual exhibition web page.


When considering inward loans, the Library commits to assessing each potential loan as to whether consultation is necessary prior to approving the loan in accordance with Appendix 3 of the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme guidelines. Consultation shall always be carried out if an object relates to Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander individuals, family groups or representatives. Consultation will take place according to the guidelines within the National and State Libraries Australasia Working with Community: Guidelines for collaborative practice between libraries and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities document. If an object relates to other communities in Australia or a state or territory archive then consultation will be considered and undertaken if deemed necessary.

Enquiries and claims

The Library welcomes enquiries regarding a work that will be, or has been, imported into Australia for temporary exhibition. To enquire or register a concern, please use the online feedback form.

The Library’s Service Charter includes a commitment to respond to all public enquiries within one week. 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 Library 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

International Loans

Cook and the Pacific exhibition

Venue: National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra. 2600

Duration: 21 September 2018 – 10 February 2019