By ERWIN CHLANDA
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.
By ERWIN CHLANDA