By ERWIN CHLANDA
The business case for the national Aboriginal art gallery, one year overdue, is “based on the development of a CBD-based” institution, a location in direct conflict with the wishes of the town’s Aboriginal custodians.
They want the gallery to be built south of The Gap, for well-defined cultural reasons.
While the custodians’ views are clearly ignored by Ministers Dale Wakefield (pictured) and Lauren Moss, they now refer to this town as “Mparntwe (Alice Springs)”.
Both Country Liberals president Ron Kelly and Councillor Marli Banks said in reports published by the Alice Springs News today, ahead of the media release about the gallery, that there needs to be further consultation with the community, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, before the gallery can go ahead.
The business case claims that the gallery “will bring an additional 53,000 visitors each year, deliver up to $64m into the economy and generate up to 245 local jobs”.
According to the media release today, the report prepared by Ernst and Young says the project “will deliver significant social, cultural and economic benefit to Alice Springs and surrounding region”.
The government has committed an initial $50m to the gallery project as part of its $100m “investment in a nationally significant Arts Trail throughout the Territory to support and grow the arts and cultural industry, and provide new and enhanced attractions for national and international visitors”.
According to the key economic findings of the business case, as reported in the release, the gallery will bring:
• an additional 53,000 visitors to Alice Springs each year, with visitation generating a further economic contribution of between $42.8m and $64.2m and 164 to 245 jobs;
• a direct economic contribution from gallery employment of around $13.73m per annum and up to 69 jobs once fully operational;
• an economic contribution of between $118.6m and $142.4m during the construction phase and up to 260 associated jobs each year over two years.
The release quotes the chairperson of Tourism Central Australia, Dale McIver, as welcoming the release of the business case: “A project of this calibre that is estimated to bring in an additional 53,000 visitors per annum to Alice Springs, which celebrates our Aboriginal Art in Australia is a much needed economic shot in the arm for both the Tourism Industry and the broader community.”
It also quotes the co-chair of the gallery reference group, Dr Gerard Vaughan, from Canberra.
No Aboriginal person is quoted in the media release.
We have asked Minister Wakefield for the cost of the Ernst and Young report.
The cost of the business case report is $224,121 excluding GST, according to a spokeswoman for Minister Wakefield.
By ERWIN CHLANDA