Now $90m earmarked for Aboriginal gallery


p2459 Lauren Moss (2411 ) presser 400By ERWIN CHLANDA
Great news: The government’s allocation for the Iconic National Aboriginal Art Gallery is now $90m.
Not so great news: This is for the Iconic National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Darwin.
The Territory will have two Iconic National Aboriginal Art Galleries, according to a report quoting the director of the government’s Museum & Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) in Darwin, Marcus Schutenko.
While Arts Minister Lauren Moss (pictured with Namatjira MLA Chansey Paech and Phillip Watkins, CEO of Desart, when the Alice Springs gallery was first announced) disclosed the co-chairpersons of the Alice Springs version, Mr Schutenko told a national online arts magazine: “Darwin is seen as the world’s leading city for engaging with Aboriginal art. Coupled with our proximity to South East Asia, we are uniquely placed to tell some amazing stories through art.”
Writer Jeremy Eccles, of Aboriginal Art Directory, certainly was surprised.
He wrote: “Mr Schutenko doesn’t seem to have been reading the Territory’s Arts Minister’s views on her preference for Alice Springs as ‘the heart of Australia, (where) the National Aboriginal Art Gallery (for which only $50m has so far been allocated) will become a globally significant institution that celebrates Aboriginal art and culture and create [sic] jobs and economic opportunities.
“And I thought only Adelaide was competing with Alice for that gig!”
2599 Aboriginal Art Directory SMMr Schutenko’s Spiel was uncannily similar to what people in The Centre have been fed by Ms Moss. Mr Ecceles reports: “This new ‘iconic art gallery’ … would generate a net economic benefit to the Greater Darwin region of $212m over the first 10 years of operation.”
We invited comment from Minister Moss at 1.41pm yesterday but have not received a reply by publication of this report.
UPDATE: Minister Moss provided this statement at 5.17pm.
The Territory Labor Government is proud to put our creative industries front and centre. The sector is vitally important to our tourism sector, and an important economic driver in its own right. This week’s release of the Australia Council for the Arts’ International Arts Tourism report continues to reinforce this.
The National Aboriginal Art Gallery will be built in the heart of Australia and will be a must visit institution for Australians and visitors alike, bringing job opportunities and economic development particularly in Central Australia. The National Reference Group just had their first meeting in Alice Springs to continue to propel this nationally significant project.
The Art Gallery in State Square forms an important part of the Darwin City Deal, recognising the role arts and culture play in vibrant civic centres, and showcasing more of the incredible art in the Northern Territory’s collection. An implementation plan will be released with milestones in due course.


  1. It’s like a surreal comedy, Monty Python comes to mind.
    Just can’t figure out if Mr Gunner is John Cleese or Michael Palin.
    The quick response from Minister Moss, Erwin, tells us they are at least looking in.

  2. Had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.
    Can’t even get one gallery off and running and now they want two.
    Last I heard the interest on the NT debt was about $1m per day.
    Yeah, two galleries, great idea (insert sarcasm).

  3. Put the big top up. The CIRCUS is defently in the TERRITORY PARLIAMENT! Starring GUNNER and HIS CLOWNS!

  4. Enough games. This socialist, nanny state government doesn’t have the capacity to undertake a chook raffle let alone TWO museums!
    The world class cultural centre appears to have dissapeared also.
    I propose a two year review, followed by a one year moratorium, a six month consultation and a three month propaganda campaign to fully get a grasp on the issue!
    Meanwhile, crime up, tourism down and the economy going nowhere.
    Maybe next time Labor should back candidates who have actually achieved something tangible in their pre-political lives other than working for unions, feel good NGOs and ticking various diversity boxes.

  5. Dare ask the question – where is this money coming from? Another $90m? Pfffft … chickenfeed!
    Spending has overtaken the Australian economy like a virus. The NT is following Victoria.
    Hang on … it’s election week.
    Imagine trying to run a family household weekly budget like these politicians. The family would be on the streets in a month.

  6. Last Thursday week Arunta men met on the banks of the Todd down from the Anzac Oval.
    A plan was presented and it was completely different from the one I saw in the papers which showed the oval would be part of the building complex.
    This plan showed the oval will not be touched at all. The grandstands are to be removed. It was agreed steel a fence would be built around the whole complex.
    The meeting was nearly over when it was suggested that the Cultural Centre be built on the same block.
    According to a pamphlet from Gunner, do they need 40,000 square metres for the one building and that will take all the school area plus more? So how big a building is this Culture Centre going to be?

  7. “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1973.”
    So said Tom Lehrer, the most brilliant song satirist ever recorded.
    For the young and deprived you can check him out on YouTube.
    Happy 90th birthday Tom.
    The Gunner gunna Government Gallery has now become two thought bubbles.
    To paraphrase the Onion Eater: Satire (in the NT) is dead, cremated, pulverised and buried.

  8. Mmm and it gives the recent changes to Qantas Flights a whole new perspective.
    No wonder Michael was so pleased with them because now the Alice is apparently in direct competition with Darwin as well as the Rock, and Michael’s just overseen and congratulated Qantas on its intention to reduce our incoming seats and overfly us to Darwin!
    While still having the sheer bloody audacity to stand up there and spruik his empathy with his “Home Town”!
    Yeh, with sons like that looking after our interests we sure as hell don’t need anyone actually competing against us. What a Joke!
    Hey, just a thought, but I wonder which gallery will see some actual on ground funding first.
    Anyone taking odds?

  9. I’m starting to get really annoyed when the Chief Minister mentions Alice Springs in some home town style reference. It is obvious he doesn’t care about the town.
    I would like to know what exactly he has improved in the Alice since being elected.
    I bet there isn’t any stat that has been improved. He has been successful in making the divide between Darwin and Alice a lot larger but. Good work.


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