News to us, say councillors on Anzac Hill development


p22102-Damien-RyanBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Three town councillors contacted by the Alice Springs News Online said they had no knowledge prior to this morning of NT Government moves to “officially partner with Alice Springs Council” on the positioning the Indigenous art gallery close to Anzac Hill.
All three said that council does not yet have a position on the issue.
Cr Marli Banks says the government is “jumping the gun” as the council is still seeking information to formulate a policy.
“First I heard of it,” says Cr Eli Melky who says he is circulating a petition to save the oval.
Cr Jimmy Cocking says he has been given no prior information about the move.
Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss said in a media release at 6:06am today “the Territory Labor Government wants to continue work with Council to progress the world-class project.
“The Chief Minister wrote to the Mayor of Alice Springs Damien Ryan (pictured) thanking him for his ongoing commitment to the Inland Capital Committee … including the revitalisation of the CBD.”
She says the Anzac site is “the preferred home of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery” but she does not state who it is preferred by.
Ms Moss says a proposed memorandum of understanding “will be underpinned” by agreement that the intended use of the land is for an arts and cultural precinct which will include the National Aboriginal Art Gallery; strong commitment to retain green space for community use including concerts and events and provision of a sporting facility for both rugby league and rugby union, which will include two playing fields and accompanying amenities.
Her media release does not disclose the location of the rugby facilities.
The News is seeking comment from Mayor Ryan.
UPDATE 11:47am
Cr Eli Melky has made the following statement:
Following public concerns calling on elected council members made on the FB site Alice Springs Open Community forum regarding the  possible change of use to cater for the inclusion of the Art Gallery at ANZAC Oval, a poll was initiated on FB that has attracted over 1500 votes not in favour of losing ANZAC oval to an National Indigenous Art Gallery.
In addition to the poll I launched a petition with an aim to present it at the next Alice Springs Town Council Meeting on April 16. I am expecting high level of support for the petition which will provide direction to councillors when it comes deciding on ANZAC Oval, given that the ratepayers own it.
The petition can be found around town and at my office on the corner of Todd street and Gregory Terrace. I will continue taking signatures right up to April 30 and will present at both Council meeting during that month.
I understand that the NT Government has released a media statement today talking about an MOU with the council. I have not been made aware of any formal approach from the Minster.
If the NT Government wants to discuss any relationships with the council regarding the ANZAC oval, I suggest that they would need to improve on their communication strategy and contact councillors formally and not through media in the first instance.


  1. Cr Marli Banks, I agree, and jumping the gun is an dangerous exercise, because of the recoil. He could be hit in the backside.

  2. This government is so out of order on so many issues.
    How dare they act so precipitously over such a significant asset of the Alice Springs Council and the ratepayers of the Alice.

  3. Gunner should ask the residents as the oval belongs to the ratepayers and not to the Mayor.
    After six months of hard work, the committee handed its report to government in mid-November.
    The committee believe that the Desert Park is the best location to achieve the project’s vision.
    More than any other site considered, it would allow an expression of “connectedness to country,” says Mr Watkins – fundamental for an Indigenous cultural project.
    “It’s somewhere where you can understand the grandeur, the majesty of the country, where the museum would have room to breathe,” says Ms Perkins.
    Why have a committee if you do not listen to the founding? Is it not throwing money in the wind?

  4. More evidence, as if it were needed, that our Alice Springs Town Council is run as a little dictatorship.
    Once you have a voting block, you can ride roughshod over the remaining councillors to the point of excluding them altogether. Transparency and community inclusivity is needed more than ever.

  5. A dark sad thought comes to my mind: May Gunner know the NT cannot afford the project, therefore if it does not happen, he will be off the hook, blaming all of us for the failure.

  6. Domenico I guess you can say that when your prefered voting block doesn’t control the vote. Oh well, such is life.
    Personally I’m glad your little cadre don’t control the vote. I would hate to see our Alice Springs turn into another toxic cesspool like the inner city Melbourne councils have.

  7. The irony of Eli Melky putting about a petition based on a poll from a closed facebook page is not lost on me.
    Going off half cocked in a tantrum because he has not been trusted with the full concept while it is still being developed.
    If he succeeds in sinking this significwnt development in Central Australia, he will then move on to complaining about the lack of development and investment.
    How is your mentoring of Dyllan Voller going Eli? You jumped on that band wagon when you thought you could get some political milage out of him.

  8. I was born and raised in Alice and I’ve seen the decline of what was once a great town. ANZAC oval is so important to Alice! Keep your stinking, politically correct hands off it!

  9. @ Lawrence: I’m afraid you have misinterpreted my position on the matter. I do not believe in “voting blocks” of ANY kind – neither “mine” nor “yours” – but prefer that all councillors vote independently for what they believe is best for our town.
    The ongoing stagnation in Alive Springs Town Council demonstrates a complete lack of vision for the town’s future.
    We are being let down badly by our so-called “community leadership”. Mabel has hit the nail on the head: we need change at the top.

  10. In response to Russell’s comments: Yes mate you got me, I spend my time standing up for my community and respond to their calls every time.
    Just wait and see what my next band wagon I will be jumping on. Here is a short preview:
    • Fighting for cheaper airfares.
    • Lower Council rates.
    • Reconciliation Action Planning.
    • Better traffic Manangment in CBD.
    • Reasonable, lower dumping fees.
    • Improving and maintaining all our Parks and sporting fields.
    • Quality and lower prices good and groceries.
    I am also against abuse of alcohol and think the way we view and promote the product must change.
    Oh, and I really would like to do something to reducing the crime waves in our town.
    I know, Russell, and this is only my short list, I would be happy to show you my full list.
    That is even more impressive, it has a multi purpose sports stadium and precinct.
    Of course I also have a plan when it come to investment and development.
    My door will also remain open to everyone who walk through it asking for advice or help, regardless of their criminal history or standing in the community, including you, Russell.
    My question to you is, what are you doing to help our town other than winge and hide behind a fake ID?

  11. Could the Councillors and the Mayor who are in the knows tell me where the car parks for residents and visitors will be when Anzac is changed to green?
    This morning at 11am, I could not find a spot, which highlights the fact that the parking lot on the plan and design is not big enough and it is already not big enough to serve the Youth Center.


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