LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Whilst emotions continue to run high over the site for the National Indigenous Art Gallery and the National Indigenous Cultural Centre, the most essential ingredient for the progress of these developments is missing: The money.
The former CLP Government put $70m for the Art Gallery and Cultural Centre in their May 2016 budget.
Two years have passed and despite the Chief Minister’s grandiose statements and rather nauseating declarations of “love” for Alice Springs, he has failed to contribute one additional cent to these two “iconic” projects.
The Minister for Culture, Lauren Moss, announced earlier this year that the $50m allocated for the gallery would not be enough, and that the total cost would be “more than $150m”.
You can only surmise the separate National Indigenous Cultural Centre will cost another $150m. And there you have a shortfall of over $250m that needs to be found by the time construction begins in 2020/21.
And where is the $30m for the new rugby fields Gunner promised? The whole premise of using Anzac Oval for the gallery hinges on a commitment made by the government to build new rugby facilities. This promise was made well before the 2018 NT Budget, yet no money was allocated.
So where is this enormous shortfall of money coming from?
Since coming to government, Labor has placed the NT into extreme and unprecedented debt.
In just months Gunner took the deficit from $548m in August 2016 to $1.3 billion in May 2017.
One year later in the 2018 Budget, the deficit escalated to $4.5 billion, with a projected deficit of a $7.5 billion by 2021-22.
This is a financial disaster for the NT.
The interest repayments on this debt will equate to over $10m PER WEEK in 2020/21. For our tiny NT population of just 245,000, this is not sustainable.
So, the question of how the Gunner Government will pay for the National Indigenous Art Gallery and National Indigenous Cultural Centre is extremely vexing. Without taking the Territory into even deeper levels of debt, there simply is no money.
Perhaps they will secure funding from philanthropic and private investors. Perhaps the Federal Government will contribute some. But I think it is safe to say that the Gunner Government has absolutely no idea where this enormous deficit in funding for the National Indigenous Art Gallery and Cultural centre is coming from, or indeed whether it will come at all.
Member for Araluen
Indigenous gallery: Show me the money!
LETTER TO THE EDITOR