Conflict of interest raised in council's rejection of gallery offer


The Town Council, in a secret meeting on Monday, rejected the offer from the NT Government to break the National Aboriginal Art Gallery deadlock.
The announcement of the rejection was made by Ministers Dale Wakefield (left) and Lauren Moss (right) a few minutes ago, pointing to the fact that the council is “under the leadership of a CLP candidate” – Mayor Damien Ryan.
“The Council needs to come clean and make clear to the people of Alice Springs what conflict of interest exists with their elected officials and how this may have impacted on their decision-making,” they say.
The News was unable to reach the council’s media officer but Councillor Marli Banks says although there was the option to make the decision in open meeting, this was not done, and she is disappointed about that.
The decision was made in an executive development committee meeting of the council on Monday. Cr Banks was not present. She was on leave arranged prior to that meeting, she says.
Ministers Wakefield and Moss are saying in a media release the rejection comes “after Council has spent almost two years rejecting every offer on the table, without providing any real solutions.
“The Council has not provided a counter offer to the proposed $20m land swap that will also see the creation of a new town library.
“The National Aboriginal Art Gallery project is too important for the people and future of Alice Springs to be stalled by deliberate inaction or political game playing.
“The Territory Labor Government remains committed to building the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in the Alice Springs CBD – with or without the Alice Springs Town Council.
“The National Aboriginal Art Gallery project is one of the biggest investments into Alice Springs in decades and it will provide more local jobs, economic growth, and social benefits.
“According to the comprehensive business case for the project, if constructed in the CBD, it will bring an additional 53,000 visitors to Alice Springs every year, injecting up to $64m into the local economy and generating up to 245 local jobs,” says the media release.


  1. This is really starting to be a joke of sisyphean proportions. This gallery was promised / promoted by Labor before the last election, well over three years ago and still nothing has happened.
    There is every chance in under a year they could be voted out or made impotent because of the independents, meanwhile Alice has nothing to show for the failed Gunner experiment … except crime and chaos on our streets.
    If the crime we are expected to tolerate in Alice Springs was in a capital city on the east coast or similar, it would be on TV and in newspapers with editors demanding accountability.
    As a town, we should be demanding accountability from this government about a project they put forward to gain votes regarding the art gallery, and their inability or incompetence to actually achieve what they said they would do.

  2. If the gallery is built in the CBD it will bring an extra 53,000 people!
    If it’s built a couple of miles away south of The gGap it will bring – how many?
    Considering that these extra people are going to be traveling 1000s of kilometres to get to the gallery what’s an extra couple of Ks.
    Why are they so obsessed with the CBD? 99% of visitors to the gallery will check out the town centre regardless of its location.

  3. So it is now the Town Council’s fault nothing has happened!
    The council have finally got the message from the town’s people about what could / should / possibly happen and it so transpires it does not agree with the government line.
    They now bring up any excuse to blame the council, the street sweeper, the garbage collector, anyone they can think of except themselves for the idiotic way they have gone about the whole process.
    Kindergarten kids could do a better job. This whole issue has cost thousands through total incompetence of the current government.

  4. Ministers Dale Wakefield and Lauren Moss: Please copy and repeat 1000 times the following to make sure you have read, understood then apply the following.
    Welcome to Labor’s National Platform:
    Chapter 1: Labor’s Enduring Values 1. We pay respect to the traditional owners of this ancient continent, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We honour their continuing connection to country and their custodianship of the world’s oldest living culture.
    Labor priorities open and accountable government:
    15. In Government, Labor strengthened citizens’ rights of access to government material and documents.
    16. Labor will continue to promote transparency and accountability by maintaining and promoting a transparent culture across Australian government agencies and will continue to support robust mechanisms for public interest disclosure, freedom of information and mechanisms for receiving, investigating and prosecuting complaints concerning alleged corruption in public office or administration.


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