By ERWIN CHLANDA
A claim by Minister Dale Wakefield on August 10 that plans are “well underway for a comprehensive business case” for the Aboriginal art gallery in Alice Springs appear to have been wildly exaggerated.
The fact is that this morning the NT Government’s Quotations and Tenders Online published a “new tender notification” for an “Alice Springs Consultancy – Comprehensive Business Case for the new National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs”.
The closing date is August 31 (two weeks away) with a period of assessing the tenders necessarily following.
Most importantly, should be be left up to the drafters of a business case which of the multitude of proposed sites should be used?
While the government has a preferred site – the hugely controversial ANZAC precinct – a decision has – perhaps luckily – not yet been made.
Ms Wakefield has announced “it is anticipated that the business case will be completed by the end of November 2018”.
All this looks like a rush job in the making, given that the project had been announced or mooted by the CLP government that crashed and burned two years ago.
The “scope of services” in the tender is clearly in direct contradiction with Mr Lovett’s assertion on Wednesday that a decision about the location has not been made.
The brief says the consultants are required to produce an analysis “in the preparation of a detailed business case for the development of an art gallery at the preferred site, the Anzac Hill Precinct, in Alice Springs”.
The purpose and key objectives of the detailed business case will be to, says the tender notice:
• Confirm market demand for the development of a National Aboriginal art gallery in Alice Springs through market research (both visitor and residential) and refine projections of patronage, market segmentation and price positioning based on these outcomes.
• Inform the development of a Functional Design Brief with respect to which activities could be included within the precinct to facilitate the best economic and cultural outcomes for the community.
• Enable the NT Government to further assess the proposal including any recommendations regarding investment facilitation and attraction such as local, regional, partnerships and opportunities that will enhance the long term viability of the art gallery.
UPDATE August 20, 6.30pm
The Labor government calling for a tender for a business case for the National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs reinforces how disingenuous the government has been to Territorians on the project from the start.
The tender document listing the ANZAC Hill Precinct as the preferred location for the project proves that Labor’s so called community consultation on the location for the project was simply lip service.
To reiterate, the Opposition has always maintained support for the proposed gallery, however notes that the government has failed to genuinely consult with the community in relation to the site on which the gallery will be built.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an iconic national landmark and we would expect that the Labor government communicated the full details of the proposal to the community, prior to making a decision on the location for the gallery.
By ERWIN CHLANDA