Tourism and Culture Minister Lauren Moss is awaiting advice on whether the national Indigenous art gallery and the cultural centre in Alice Springs will be combined.
Right: Lauren Moss in February, flanked by Chansey Paech (left), Assistant Minister on the project, and Philip Watkins, Chief Executive of Desart and co-chair of the gallery project’s steering committee.
She spoke to the Alice Springs News Online yesterday after Harold Furber, chair of the group pushing for the Nganampa Anwernekenhe cultural centre, announced that a project officer will now start organising consultations for “the entire project” – “an Aboriginal initiative”.
“We’re very very pleased to be working with Harold and his team around the cultural centre.
“We’ve got a $20m investment for the cultural centre and $50m on the table for the national Indigenous art gallery,” said Minister Moss, a position unchanged since the announcement of the art gallery steering committee in February.
However, she said the steering committee, chaired by Hetti Perkins and Philip Watkins, have just had their second meeting, “looking at the governance and the links between the two institutions”, and have been in touch with Nganampa Anwernekenhe on the matter.
This is an “an ongoing, evolving conversation”, said Minister Moss.
She said government will listen to the the steering committee’s recommendations. It is a not a decision-making body but “if you’ve got an advisory committee, then you allow them to give you advice” to allow you to make “informed decisions”.
At the end of day, she will take “full advice” not only from the steering committee and Nganampa Anwernekenhe (in relation to which she also referred to the Combined Aboriginal Organisations) but also from the community, including tourism and educational stakeholders.
The $70m “on the table” is government expenditure, taxpayers’ money, so the ultimate decisions will be made for “the best benefit for Alice Springs”, she said.
– Erwin Chlanda and Kieran Finnane