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HomeIssue 24CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct

A CLP government would build the Aboriginal art gallery at the Desert Park, not at ANZAC Oval, the party announced in a statement this morning.
It says the initial steering scoping committee preferred that location because it better reflects the nature of the art being “on country,” the magnificent natural setting will distinguish it from any other public museum in Australia, and offer a unique introductory experience for travellers to the West MacDonnell National Park.
The statement says $50m has already been committed, allowing design work to start in 2020. The project will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy and create hundreds of jobs.
“The whole process has been destroyed and our town divided by the heavy hand antics of the Gunner Government failing to listen or take into consideration the people of Alice Springs,” candidate Damien Ryan  says in the statement.
Images from Desert Park website.


  1. Well, like it or not at least we know where they stand. It beats the four years of fumbling we have experienced at the hands of Gunner and Co.

  2. This is financially risky in an era when the gallery must be profitable.
    Visitor numbers at the Desert Park have been in decline since 2015 and the park has only maintained its bottom line by sharply increasing entry fees.
    One of the main reasons is that our hot summers make it too unpleasant to walk around the park.
    Our high value overseas visitors are especially sensitive to the Central Australian heat.
    So this location is out of town, charges a fee and isn’t connected to the landscape because visitors won’t be slugging around it in the heat.
    It will be less profitable than the Anzac Oval location, if indeed it makes any profit at all.
    Perhaps the Gunner Government hasn’t communicated well but they got the business case right.

  3. And judging by this the CLP will fail to listen or take into consideration the views of the senior custodians for this place.
    Tourism wants engagement with Indigenous people. Tourists want indigenous experiences but it will never happen when there is no respect for Indigenous people or culture.
    That lack of respect starts in the halls of power and echos down onto the streets.

  4. And judging by this the CLP will fail to listen or take into consideration the views of the senior custodians for this place.
    Tourism wants engagement with indigenous people. Tourists want indigenous experiences but it will never happen when there is no respect for Indigenous people or culture.
    That lack of respect starts in the Halls of power and echos down onto the streets.

  5. Let’s hope the Government of the day listens to the people of Alice Springs and the Aboriginal people of this area and get it sorted.
    All big projects in other towns around Australia are on the outskirts of town. Thinking of the future growth of the town and of course the parking problems already in town.

  6. It just needs to be built where it is easy to get to by car, foot or pedal. Magnificent Indigenous art showcasing what the world comes to see.

  7. To me the obvious question to ask is this: Assuming the gallery is built at the Alice Springs Desert Park or south of the Gap, or even not at all, who then is going to be held to account for the unnecessary destruction of a perfectly good public asset, the former Anzac Hill High School, at a cost to taxpayers over $2m and for no good reason at all?
    By rights this whole issue should be a major political scandal.

  8. Alex the whole performance of Gunner’s government is a major political scandal.
    The governor general should had sacked him longtime ago (Whitlam was dismissed for less than that).
    Could some one from the party explain in details here for all to see what Gunner has achieved in his time on power? It is the right of the public and the voters.

  9. @ Jack: People don’t visit Alice Springs in the summer, so no problem there. There is no profit in the summer for tourist operations, regardless of whatever the enterprise is.
    The current idea of Anzac Oval is a stupid and ridiculous decision, made on the spur of the moment. If it just HAS to be built in town, then it should be built opposite KFC.
    Land which has been left vacant since the demolition of that once great Centralian institution, Skanky Malankies.

  10. Well done to the CLP for stating their position clearly. It would be good to have the same clarity from TA on this subject.
    I totally agree with you Alex Nelson, there should be an inquiry into the handling of this matter, the waste of public funds and the demolition of the school.

  11. Remember that the original estimates when pushing for this was that the annual visitor numbers were going to increase by 700,000 pax per year EXTRA (not sure of the exact numbers).
    So if this really comes to fruition, an extra 700,000 will certainly provide massive opportunities for the Desert park if these attractions are right next to each other, and could be the saviour of the Desert Park’s failing attraction.

  12. The national Aboriginal art gallery needs to be built at Desert Knowledge Precinct in line with the request of traditional owners. The national Aboriginal cultural centre can also be built. Desert People’s Centre is already there. Plenty of parking, great cafe already on-site.

  13. @ Ray (Posted May 28, 2020 at 6:19 pm): The irony of your comment is that the Alice Springs Desert Park, when it was a concept promoted by the NT Government nearly 30 years ago, was touted as a major new attraction for Alice Springs that would attract and / or divert tourists from Uluru – yes, it was going to be the economic game-changer for Central Australia!
    As was the casino at the beginning of NT self-government _ who remembers all those high-rollers from Asia it was going to attract to our fair town?
    And then the Desert Knowledge Precinct, which would put Central Australia at the forefront of research and development for a billion customers in similar environments around the world! Hallelujah!
    Not to mention the very original economic nirvana dreaming, the transcontinental railway from south to north that would open up access to the teeming markets of southeast Asia (that one dates from the 19th century colonial period of South Australia’s control of the Northern Territory).
    And now we’ve got the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, just the latest mirage on the desert horizon that self-interested politicians and bureaucrats are urging upon us as the oasis of our economic salvation.

  14. Alex, the biggest irony of your comment is you fail to see that my comment was pure sarcasm. How ironic!

  15. It should be at Desert Knowledge and used as a training ground for the students at Yirara College in management of their own cultural heritage and as a positive display of Indigenous education art and culture.
    It should a major component of a brand new tourism precinct between The Gap and the airport with the new visitors centre, with plenty of parking and a bush foods orchard plus community facilities at the sadly under-utilised Transport Hall of Fame.
    Townsville has a mining centre of excellence.
    We have a great mineral museum at ASRI. Why not here?
    Can anyone really proclaim the success of the dinosaur museum or why two major banks moved out from that area?
    This would release the CBD to do what it does so well – accomodation and retail.
    Again we have failed to cherry pick the best of what is happening elsewhere.
    The other side of Longreach there is a long display of old time machinery right along the major highway which together with the Old Ghan engine, and first semi where many tourists stop now, would make a magnificent entry to a brand new tourism precinct.


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