Above: The sum total of site information given to the public in the government’s recent consultation about the two possible locations for a proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery.
Sir – Minister for Arts and Culture, Lauren Moss, today has failed to satisfactorily answer questions I submitted on December 12 about the process the government used to short list Anzac Oval and the Desert Park as the site options for the National Indigenous Art Gallery.
Alice Springs residents have a right to know exactly how these two properties were selected, as opposed to other properties that were apparently deemed unsuitable.
Why, for example, was Anzac Oval deemed suitable but the old Melanka site, the old Drive-in site or numerous other privately and Government owned sites were considered unsuitable?
The Minister has not provided a list of properties that were considered in this process, thus it would be reasonable to conclude that no other properties were considered at all.
The consultative process was probably one of the strangest I have come across. They did not advertise their on-line survey in the local newspapers nor on television.
No wonder people were finding out about the survey and the prospect of losing Anzac Oval weeks after the survey had closed. How many Alice Springs people knew about the “pop-up displays” or received a postcard in the mail about the survey – I didn’t!
For a government that has trumpeted virtues of being open and transparent, I think they have failed miserably.
For example, I asked: If Anzac Oval is chosen will the government be building a new sporting facility to replace Anzac Oval?
If yes, then please provide details of funding allocated to this project, when, where and the nature of the new facilities.
Answer: Further consultation will occur with key stakeholders if Anzac Oval is chosen as the preferred site, particularly with user groups of community facilities should these be impacted by the decision.
The Government will not commit to providing details of where rugby league and rugby union will be played if Anzac Oval is chosen. They will not commit to replacing all the recently upgraded facilities at Anzac Oval.
Why would we agree to giving up Anzac Oval for an Art Gallery, if there is no plan (or funding!) to establish an alternative sporting and social venue?
The online survey to determine whether the National Indigenous Art Gallery be located at Anzac Oval or Desert Park closed on December 1 – six weeks ago. It is time the government disclosed their intentions.
Some answers I received:–
• An initial scoping steering committee was established. It undertook a comprehensive evaluation of multiple potential sites in and around Alice Springs, giving consideration to a range of criteria relevant to a cultural institution of national significance, including size and connection to landscape. These sites included privately owned and government properties. Based on this process, two sites were ranked suitable, including the Anzac Hill site and the Alice Springs Desert Park, with all the other sites considered unsuitable.
• An online survey promoted through radio advertising on three radio stations from November 5 to 26. A postcard was distributed through Australia Post to 12 000 residents and businesses. Sponsored Facebook advertising was undertaken from November 3 to 10. Pop up displays were held
• No paid advertising in the local newspapers was undertaken. Local newspapers ran news articles about the consultation process and there was no television advertising. The costs were $4686 – radio; $3621 – postcard design, print and distribution; $116 – Facebook advertising.
• The steering committee met with representatives of the Nganampa Development Corporation, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Tourism Central Australia and the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists, Aboriginal Association (ANKA), as well as the Mayor of Alice Springs.
• The committee co-chairs also met with representatives of the Central Land Council Executive, Akeyulerre Healing Centre, Institute for Aboriginal Development Men’s Group, Desart Board and Desart member organisations, Alice Springs Desert Park and the Australia Council for the Arts.
• Informal conversations were also held at key Northern Territory and national Aboriginal arts events, including Desert Mob, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, TARNANTHI, Adelaide and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. A formal meeting with Lhere Artepe was not able to be confirmed.
• The National Indigenous Art Gallery was also raised for discussion at the Tourism Top End board level, noting that this board includes diverse sector representation.
• Tourism Central Australia also forwarded a formal position paper to the Committee identifying their views for a National Indigenous Cultural Centre, incorporating an Iconic Art Gallery.
• Discussions were held with representatives from the following organisations – Desart, Nganampa Development Corporation, Yeperenye, Desert Park, Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), Desert Knowledge, Tangentyere Council, Men’s Four Corners (town camps) representatives, Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), women from Akeyulerre (Healing Centre) and the Arrernte women and other staff at the Children’s Ground organisation.
• Brief contact with and in some cases preliminary discussions were held with Lhere Artepe Corporation and Institute for Aboriginal Development. More in depth discussions were not held with these groups due to a major funeral and also because of people being on leave. The Central Land Council did not respond to the letter about the consultation.
• Discussions were also held with many Arrernte individuals and small groups around the town.
• Further consultation will occur with key stakeholders if Anzac Oval is chosen as the preferred site, particularly with user groups of community facilities should these be impacted by the decision.
• The steering committee report will be considered by Cabinet in early 2018. The NT Government will then consider the project announcement, timing, and project management arrangements.
• Planning for the commencement of construction of the National Indigenous Art Gallery in 2020-21 is underway, with a project team to be established in early 2018 to inform the development of target dates and a construction timeline.
• Consultation around the National Indigenous Cultural Centre is ongoing.
• The government has engaged the Nganampa Development Corporation (NDC) to undertake preliminary consultation for the Cultural Centre’s potential sites. Nganampa Development Corporation has held a major workshop with stakeholders held in October 2017 and has made a formal presentation to the National Indigenous Art Gallery Steering Committee.
• The report from Nganampa Development Corporation will be considered by Cabinet in early 2018. The government will then consider the project announcement, timing, and project management arrangements to deliver an iconic National Indigenous Cultural Centre.
• The Northern Territory Government’s $20 million investment is allocated towards the infrastructure costs, with further resourcing provided to assist with project coordination and consultation.
• The NTG and Nganampa Development Corporation will communicate further developments in due course.
Member for Araluen