By ERWIN CHLANDA
Chief Minister Michael Gunner has announced that “consideration will need to be given to the future” of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
His statement a few minutes ago follows the release of a letter this morning by 10 traditional owners that they do not support the government’s “preferred site” in the Anzac Hill precinct.
Their decision was communicated to the Town Council yesterday.
There are several other sites that have been mooted for the gallery, especially the Desert Park, which was the sole recommendation by the government’s original advisory body appointed in 2016.
The committee added the Anzac site under instructions from the government.
The government has been inflexible about the Anzac site because of its claimed commercial and economic advantages. The government also claims it is the preference of the business community.
However, there is still no business plan for the gallery, and we have asked Mr Gunner on what his decision today is based.
‘The National Aboriginal Art Gallery can deliver significant economic, social and cultural benefits to the people of Alice Springs and Central Australia and create hundreds of jobs for locals,” says Mr Gunner in a media statement.
“Key traditional owners for the Anzac Hill precinct have previously offered support for the project to proceed at this site.
“The Government has been advised that key traditional owners have changed their position and withdrawn support for the project at this site.
“The Government respects traditional owners and is currently considering this change in their position.”
We are also asking Mr Gunner why the Desert Park, the Desert Knowledge Precinct and a privately owned scenic block of land, about a square kilometre, adjacent to the MacDonnell caravan park, are not considered suitable.
By ERWIN CHLANDA