Thursday, June 20, 2024

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HomeIssue 9National Indigenous Art Gallery future in doubt: Gunner

National Indigenous Art Gallery future in doubt: Gunner

2473 Nats Gunner 2 OKBy 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“The Government has been advised that key traditional owners have changed their position and withdrawn support for the project at this site.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.


  1. Unless there is a huge change of mind in council, Anzac Oval will not be sold to the NT government.
    Unless there is a correspondingly huge change of mind by the recently formed group of traditional owners, the choice of Anzac Oval for any part of the proposed art gallery will not gain their approval.
    So in the face of united opposition, Gunner is now saying the proposed gallery may not go ahead. But then he didn’t have the money to build it anyway, so what gives.
    I suspect he is circling the wagons up in Darwin.
    Gunner is on thin ice. His brand has become toxic.
    I wonder, actually I seriously doubt, if he is still Chief Minister this time next year.

  2. Sounds like the start of backing out of the project altogether. The old “they don’t want it so we won’t do it now” as if they were ever going to.
    It’s been something for them to talk about for Alice Springs whilst they have been in Government without doing anything else for the town.
    I doubt they ever intended to go ahead with it, just dangle the carrot so no one ask what else you are doing for the town.

  3. This utter debacle should mean that several heads will roll, from the Chief Minister down.
    If this happened anywhere else in Australia, that is what would happen.
    An absolutely disgraceful performance, and I predict it will get worse before this matter is terminated.

  4. Welcome to the facts of the matter.
    The minority of people do not want it on the oval. Great.
    The majority knew it was not going on the oval. The majority knew it was going to be built on the demolition site of the old Anzac school site.
    The minority did not want to hear this. Again the minority ill informed are heard over the majority well informed.
    This has to end asap.
    Ignorance and stupidity must not win the vote. Well informed and knowledge should always win.

  5. The so obvious position for a cultural centre come art showplace is adjacent to Yirrara college and in conjunction with that institution.
    It would enable the students to display and promote their own culture and art and at the same time acquire the business skills needed to run such a business, as well as showing the positive side of Indigenous education.
    As a complete complex it should also incorporate an open air market for the combined art centre movement.
    Of course, this would go down like a lead balloon with the huge vested interests North of The Gap but as Professor Ian Chubb, former Chief scientist, recently said to the National Press Club, its the communal good that is sadly lacking in many planning matters, not sectional inwardly directed interests as so often has happened here.

  6. Shame the TOs seem to follow the wants of the people more so than the government. I bet Gunner is relieved about this.

  7. A few weeks back the Chief Minister also announced an Art and Cultural Centre for the City of Darwin.
    A week or two later we suffered the announcement of extra flights direct from the Rock into Darwin while flights into the Alice were reduced. Coincidence?
    Micheal is under enormous pressure in Darwin to do something for their ailing economy, if things follow the usual Territory precedents set long ago, Darwin will win out, and the Alice will once again loose out, as the entire concept is moved to the north.
    That outcome helped along once again by a tiny minority of Alice Springs naysayers who once again in a totally and easily manipulated response have played exactly to the Chief Minister tune, providing the perfect excuse for the project to be moved north: “They don’t want it in Alice.”
    What the hell, just another nail in the coffin for the local economy!
    Just a few hundred extra jobs, extra visitors pouring millions into the local economy for the foreseeable future!
    Ahh, who needs it anyway?
    Those who spent so much time undermining it are certain to come up with some great ideas and funding to replace it, aren’t they?

  8. This shameful exercise has been a disaster from day one. No planning or consultation, just bullying, misleading the public and wasting money we don’t have.
    Now it’s if you can’t do what I think is best for you, you can’t have anything.
    This is not being a leader its being a dictator.

  9. Having watched this debate unfold over the past year, my recurring thought is now firmly for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery to be located in Canberra, alongside our other national institutions (National War Memorial, National Library, National Gallery of Australia).
    It should be given the respect, prestige and icon-status it deserves, not simply as a drawcard for tourism dollars.

  10. @ Steve: Just a few hundred extra jobs, extra visitors pouring millions into the local economy for the foreseeable future.
    Could you tell how this estimate was done, as there is no business plan yet? Is it going to be like the museum in the Mall?
    Is the art gallery / Aboriginal center for culture and education or for money making?

  11. Gunner and his mob remind me of a group of school kids who have managed to drift down to the deep end of the pool and can only keep their noses out of the water by standing on tip toes and hoping some-one will throw them a floatie. It would appear the lifesavers are not really interested.

  12. Summed it up perfectly, Una.
    The NT doesn’t really deserve to be the site of a national anything. Except maybe a national nuclear waste dump.

  13. It is fundamentally true that in Australian politics and goverment for the time since Federation that labor always destroyed the finances of the country and liberal Coalition had then, in their term, to fix the balance sheet. Every time since 1901.
    I recall that in Whitlam’s Prime Minister government that the Australian economy became so broke that the treasurer of the time called on a Mr Kemlani in Pakistan, who was a money lender / broker, to fix the Australian economy with a loan.
    That was the time Frazer and Governor-General Kerr acted.
    Can the administrator act in the NT and dismiss Gunner for he gunna-do nothing now?

  14. Whats wrong with one of the two, huge, vacant NT Government owned, TC Zoned (Tourist Commercial) blocks of land behind the Casino on Stephens Road?
    Great views of the Ranges and Gap, surrounded by tourist and hospitailiy venues, and walking distnace to the CBD?
    .And did I mention it is NT Government owned?!

  15. There are many more suitable places other than Anzac Oval.
    The old Melanka site is directly across from CAAMA. Years ago, their shop sold the CDs and tapes of recordings by Aboriginal musicians which were produced on the premises. I believe they still do.
    The shop also sold books, Yamba dolls and souvenirs.
    Then there were the studio tours that were popular. Behind CAAMA is Impaja. So to have an Aboriginal Art gallery directly across the road makes sense to me.
    The building could be designed around some of the trees and it doesn’t need to be large, but rather stylish and Centralian.


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