Council says 'no' to government gallery offer


The Town Council has rejected a $20m offer from the NT Government in their negotiations about a location for a national Aboriginal art gallery.
The proposal is for a land swap plus cash so the gallery can be built on the present site of the civic centre.
“When the considerable benefits of the existing Civic Centre location plus the greater costs of relocation and construction are taken into account, unfortunately the offered $20m funding simply is unviable,” says the council’s new CEO, Robert Jennings.
He says the council “does strongly support” the government in its commitment to the gallery and “is determined to work progressively with NT Government towards finding workable solutions.
“We understand that this process has to date been challenging to the parties involved, but we are convinced that a win-win solution does still exist.”
Mr Jennings says he will be initiating meetings with NT Government: “Following this, Council will embark on community consultation, building partnerships and working on indicative cost estimates for various CBD options with respect to suitable Council properties.”
This seems to make clear that the council will join the government seeking a site north of The Gap, despite the wishes of significant traditional owners who say it should be south of The Gap for cultural reasons.
The decision was made at a special meeting last night held behind closed doors, although the government had apparently pushed for deliberations open to the public.


  1. I still can’t believe that the NT Government and the Alice Springs Town Council are still not listening to the Aboriginal people who want the gallery SOUTH of The Gap. Build it where the Aboriginal people want it then it can go ahead.

  2. Lets us have a fair dinkum debate on the subject. A formal debate usually involves three groups:
    • One supporting a resolution (affirmative team), in this case Gunner and his supporters.
    • One opposing the resolution (opposing team), in this case Aboriginal leaders and their supporters.
    • Those who are judging the quality of the evidences and arguments and the performance in the debate, in this case rates payers as they will have to open their wallets for covering costs.

  3. Wakie, wakie, Lhere Artepe. Poor buggers in that corporation have been sleeping on the job and getting away with it because the two mouths have gone quiet.
    They jumped up and down to put their own kind in and when it happened they started arguing amongst themselves and now no-one will have a crack in there. Sad, sad, sad.

  4. Yes, everyone keep talking about this thing that will never happen.
    Why aren’t we coming up with alternative ventures for the Government to build?
    They have been promising this for far too long while doing nothing else (big project wise) for the town.
    Stop following their carrot and make them give us something else!

  5. Perhaps we’re looking at this the wrong way. Maybe an Aboriginal controlled gallery on Aboriginal land would make more sense?
    What about a public private partnership with Aboriginal majority shareholding and creative control. The NT Government could kick in its $50m, Aboriginal people could provide the site and any additional funding (thanks Centrecorp?)
    As for suitable sites, to throw a few in, you could talk to the residents of Ilparpa Camp (south of the gap) or Larapinta Valley Camp (great location) about shared space, housing swaps, compensation or any combination that works for them. There is also the block off Commonage Rd between Little Sisters Camp and the railway line.

  6. The Desert Park is the place with all the room and facilities available already.
    Demolishing a functioning building in town so you can be on the main street of town is typical public servant thinking. No thought of the money involved or the tax payers’ imputes.
    The government should be watching Rob Stitch in “Utopia” – an ABC program. This would be a classic episode for them.

  7. A case in modern colonialism.
    The early settlers had taken away the land. Today we, the town settlers, live in comfortable homes when the blekfela suffer housing overcrowding, mental heath issues and youth despair.
    In the current dispute for the location of the now illusive NAAG, people in high places (whether red, blue or in between) insist on imposing the site of their choice for something belonging to Aboriginal people, therefore overriding ownership rights on art and culture for mere economical benefits.
    The decision was made more than two years ago that whatever consultants or Arrernte stakeholders may say, the Alice Springs CBD is the place for “Aboriginal Art” to be shown to the world.
    The pride and joy that Indigenous people may retrieve in displaying their ancient and modern art in a culturally appropriate site, is taken away by fear to lose face if they were to listen to the actual owners of that art. Another case of dispossession. Cry my country!

  8. Lhere Artepe closed for the last six months not because of the virus.
    The CEO was on holidays in Darwin.
    There has not been a meeting by all estate groups for him to be granted leave.
    Dale Wakefield, you are doing what the CLC have done all these years – listening to people who do not belong to our Arunta Country making trouble.
    For instance Graham Smith and his family are Yawatta people from Utopia.
    Their grandmother Tilly Tilmouth and her brother Roy Tilmouth (the father of Bruce Tilmouth) born and bred Yawatta.
    Last year we had a meeting 60 of us men in the room at Anzac Hill with some of your people and Benedict Steven chaired the meeting.
    The decision for the art gallery was 60 against, nil for.
    So, we would like you and Graham Smith to organise a meeting, rather sooner than later, for Graham to explain who he is and where he originates from.
    There seems to be one estate group, Maparntwe, with Robert’s family making all the decisions.


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