Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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HomeIssue 13Art gallery, cultural centre: 'Another day, another backflip'

Art gallery, cultural centre: 'Another day, another backflip'

Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured) says the NT Government is “not building a National Indigenous Cultural Centre and has no construction timeframe for National Indigenous Art Gallery, both in Alice Springs.
Ms Lambley says the Budget Estimates hearings were told today by the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss, that she cannot give a timeframe for exactly when construction for the gallery will commence.
Mr Lambley quotes Ms Moss as saying that the government is providing funding to an organisation (Nganampa Anwernekenhe also known as National Indigenous Cultural Centre Limited) to “develop a business plan” for the cultural centre.
Ms Lambley says in a media release: “The Minister confirmed numerous times that the Government will not be building the Cultural Centre, that they will not have the ‘lead role’.
“It was also revealed that there was no procurement process followed to allocate over $500,000 to the National Indigenous Cultural Centre for the consultation work they have undertaken for Government.
“The Minister said it was a direct grant. There was no public tendering or effort taken to open this work up to other providers.
“The Minister was at pains to emphasise the Government budget was just $20m for the Cultural Centre,” says Ms Lambley.
“This is a distinct departure from the original commitments of the Gunner Government to build both a National Indigenous Art Gallery and a National Indigenous Cultural Centre.
“Another day, another backflip.
“In terms of the proposed land swap of the old Anzac Hill School site and the Council Civic Centre and Council Library with the Alice Springs Town Council, Minister Moss said ‘those conversations are continuing,’ with no timeframe for action provided.
“Funding of $48m for the construction of the National Indigenous Art Gallery comes on line in October 2019. Minister Moss said that construction would not commence before the end of the year. She said that 2020/2021 was a more realistic timeframe,” says Ms Lambley.
UPDATE 5.10pm
We asked Minister Moss (pictured) to respond and she provided the following statement:
The Gunner Labor Government believes that major investment in Alice Springs’ artistic and cultural offerings is vital to support the local tourism industry and the local economy.
That is why we are investing $70 million in ground-breaking cultural institutions in Alice Springs which will also see the development of a National Aboriginal Art Gallery and a National Indigenous Cultural Centre.
These projects will deliver jobs and economic growth to communities throughout the Territory.
Once again the Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley has completely failed to understand the importance of these projects, and the significant economic potential for Alice Springs.
As consistently stated on the public record and reported in the media, the NICC is a local Aboriginal community-led initiative whose steering committee was originally managed through the Nganampa Development Corporation Ltd (NDC).
More recently, the NICC Steering Committee set up a new organisation called the National Indigenous Culture Centre Ltd (NICC Ltd) to advance this project.
The NDC/NICC Steering Committee successfully applied for grant funding to undertake preliminary consultation for the NICC, and to engage an appropriately qualified contractor to prepare a Business Case for the NICC.
The Government has made a clear commitment of $20 million towards this project. The NICC Ltd has drawn down against this commitment to support their early planning works, and this work is ongoing.
It is now time for Mrs Lambley to get behind these projects and support capital investment in Alice Springs.


  1. Yet again Ms Moss has managed to fill half a page without really saying anything apart from the fact that there is yet another committee involved. At least hot air is good for balloons.

  2. NT Government must prioritise expenditure. Taxpayers are fed up paying politicians’ wages.


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