LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley, should get behind $90m of job creating work in Alice Springs.
Her criticism in the Alice Springs media of the two potential sites for the iconic National Aboriginal Art Gallery – selected by the steering committee of independent experts – was ill-informed.
[The work includes the $50m gallery], a cultural centre ($20m) and revitalising the mall ($20m).
Unfortunately, Robyn seems more focused on playing politics than delivering jobs and creating a safer community in Alice Springs.
The first thing Robyn and the CLP did on getting to Government was increase the price of power by 30%, jack up the cost of water by 20% and cut funding to youth programs in Alice Springs.
The National Aboriginal Cultural Centre is another important project for Alice Springs and consultation is underway.
Nganampa Development Corporation is running that process on behalf of Government and held a two-day workshop just two weeks ago.
I refute Lambley’s claims that the former CLP Government promised an Iconic National Aboriginal Art Gallery and cultural centre.
The former CLP Government made no effort to build a world-class cultural institution in Alice Springs.
I would be happy to provide Robyn with a comprehensive briefing on our plans for Alice Springs so she can be better informed.
I also urge Robyn and other residents of Alice Springs to have their say about our plans and put forward their own ideas for Alice through the consultation process currently underway.
Lauren Moss (pictured)
Minister for Tourism and Culture
Independent Araluen MLA Robyn Lambley replied:
In 2016 the former CLP Government announced $70m of funding for a National “iconic” Indigenous Art Gallery AND National Indigenous Cultural Centre for Alice Springs.
This decision did not come without drama. The former Chief Minister locked horns for years with local Aboriginal leaders over the ownership of the project and how this national Indigenous facility would be planned and executed.
The new Labor Government came into office in August 2016 and instantly decided that the Art Gallery ($50m) and Culturally Centre ($20m) would become two separate projects. This illogical and ill- conceived decision was done with absolutely no community consultation and no rationale provided.
Then in November 2016 the Gunner Government quickly “reprioritised” their infrastructure commitments and pushed back the funding of the National Indigenous Art Gallery and Cultural Centre to 2020/21. Funding was originally due to commence in 2018.
It should be noted that the new $50m Myilly Point Museum in Darwin announced in the May 2017 Budget has been “prioritised” and is being fast tracked through the community consultation and planning process. Even Alice Springs people have been invited to a community consultation for this museum whilst our local project has been put on the back burner.
Curiously and disappointingly the $20m Alice Springs National Indigenous Cultural Centre has dropped off the radar. The Government has stopped talking about the Cultural Centre. Internal Government sources have advised me that the Cultural Centre has been put into the “too hard basket” and it is unlikely it will ever eventuate.
In numerous questions I have put to the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Ms Lauren Moss, she has vigorously denied her Government has dumped the National Indigenous Cultural Centre. She has also been unable or unwilling to provide any detail as to the progress of the Cultural Centre.
The Government referred the initial “scoping” for the National Indigenous Art Gallery to a two member steering Committee. This committee was primarily tasked with providing options as to where the Art Gallery could be built.
It has taken a whole year for this panel to come back with these two site options. No community consultation was undertaken in this process. The two options are essentially two NT Government owned properties of the required size and zoning.