Anzac or Desert Park: More Qs than As


p2201-Lauren-MossBy ERWIN CHANDA
Arts Minister Lauren Moss (pictured) will not disclose the public vote count Anzac vs Desert Park; there seems to be no feasibility report but the gallery is an election promise. “We can now begin formal negotiations” but “the time for talk is over”. All we’ve got is $50m but the government “will now seek funding from the Federal Government and private sector to create an incredible new cultural asset and something all Australians are proud of.”
Ms Moss, through her communications advisor, has provided responses to questions from the Alice Springs News Online about the National Indigenous Art Gallery, not to be confused with the National Indigenous Cultural Centre. Both are likely to make sparks fly at the town council meeting this evening.
NEWS: What is the cost of the steering committee and its report?
MOSS: The cost is around $200,000 which include steering committee costs, and department resources including their targeted consultation.
NEWS: Please provide the study that suggests a 2020 start of construction is feasible.
MOSS: The world class National Aboriginal Art Gallery is an election promise that will attract national and international tourists to Alice Springs.
This project is being fast-tracked and will create hundreds of construction and ongoing jobs and deliver significant economic benefits to the region.
Now that the site has been announced we will consider and implement recommendations out of the steering committee report in relation to design and construction, curation, governance, cultural considerations and community engagement.
The community wants this important job-creating tourism and culture asset and we will make it happen.
NEWS: What were the numbers of votes for Anzac and Desert Park, respectively, on the government’s “have your say” website?
2524 Have your sayMOSS: Community consultation, including the Have Your Say website, saw more than 600 people provide feedback with the majority of respondents indicating a preference for either the Anzac Hill site or proposing alternate CBD sites. However, only the Anzac High School site met the selection criteria suitable in the CBD. (See image of the NT Government site: Only two choices.)
NEWS: Does the council have the power to stop the use of Anzac Oval given that it owns part of that location?
MOSS: The project builds on the Territory Labor Government’s commitment to transform and revitalise the Alice CBD, support local business and develop Alice Springs as the inland capital of Australia. The Alice Springs Town Council are key partners in this commitment.
We will continue to work with the Alice Springs Council on this major project that will deliver an important tourism and cultural asset.
Anzac Oval is council’s oval and the old Anzac High School is the NT Government’s.
NEWS: What consultation has been carried out with the town council?
MOSS: The Chief Minister, Minister for Tourism and Culture, the Member for Braitling, the Steering Committee and senior executives from the Department of Tourism and Culture have met with key stakeholders in Alice Springs and the Top End including the Mayor of Alice Springs and Council.
NEWS: What does “government preferred location” mean? Is this the start of the conversation now or the end?
MOSS: The Anzac Hill Precinct is Government’s preferred location and consideration took into account a number of factors including size, cultural considerations, sense of place and landscape, heritage considerations, accessibility and zoning.
As per media release, we can now begin formal negotiations.
NEWS: The line in Gunner’s statement “the time for talk is over” would suggest the latter.
MOSS: The new South Australian Government wants this Gallery in Adelaide so we need to come together and fight hard to deliver it in Central Australia – the rightful home for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery.
NEWS: Does Mr Gunner’s statement that he “plans to leverage” funding means that no confirmed money is available other than the $50m?
MOSS: The Territory Labor Government has made a $50 million down-payment on this facility and will now seek funding from the Federal Government and private sector to create an incredible new cultural asset and something all Australians are proud of.


  1. “A national Aboriginal art and culture gallery would be built on the site of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital, under Liberal plans for the seven hectare block.”
    Would the Feds give grants to both States?

  2. Smells like someone might be getting something in return for this site being picked as it is obvious no one is for it apart from the Government.
    Oh, and I’m sure our building (if it goes ahead with an election happening before they break ground) will be dwarfed by anything SA build as they have a stack more money and foot traffic. Can’t help but think ours will look like a broke cousin of whatever they build.

  3. I note that the SA Liberals had an election placard that proposed a National Aboriginal Culture and Arts space on the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site. Might that have some impact on these two proposals … if it is serious?

  4. As a member of the Heritage Council, I’m particularly interested to know what Minister Lauren Moss means by having taken into account “heritage considerations” as this matter has not been raised or discussed with us to my knowledge.
    With whom have these “heritage considerations” been considered and what is the detail of that information?
    Since last year I’ve personally been accumulating a considerable amount of information about the history of this location (and am still in the process of doing so), in particular with regard to the old high school, and it’s patently obvious to me that the NT Government has not taken the heritage value of this site into consideration. Alternatively the Government has chosen to disregard it.
    I expect the NT Government to release the information it is relying upon to justify its claim.
    From my own perspective there is a very strong case to argue that the heritage value of that old high school complex easily rivals (and I think exceeds) that of the Old Hartley Street School.

  5. Good to see the council is dealing with the important issues first. Now that the flag fiasco is done dusted with, how about we get on with cleaning up the town?
    Issues like cleaning up the streets, breaking and entering, property damage and behaviour issues all over town!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here