By ERWIN CHLANDA
Lhere Artepe should be the go-to for all Aboriginal issues in Alice Springs, says Graeme Smith (pictured), the new acting CEO of the native title organisation.
“As a corporation what we need to do is better listening. I will make that process begin,” he says, making it clear that a broad range of issues will get a new hearing.
That includes the location for the national Aboriginal art gallery: Lhere Artepe’s current position is to support the government’s choice of the Anzac Hill Precinct.
But this is opposed by the key custodian group headed up by Benedict Stevens and Peter Renehan.
Mr Stevens last week told the Alice Springs News that custodians continue to oppose the Anzac option.
The News understands that the NT Government is proceeding with compulsory acquisition of Anzac Oval from the Town Council, making way for the construction and grounds of its proposed gallery.
Mr Smith says he is encouraging Mr Stevens (at left, ABC photo) and Mr Renehan to put their views to Lhere Artepe, bearing in mind that the AGM will be held in about late February, and a new board may overturn previous decisions.
The board has nine members, three from each of the three estate groups, with a quorum of five.
“We’re friends with all of them. We have to hear them out, whether they are happy or unhappy.
“In the past decade we’ve been dividing the membership. We need to bring members together.”
This has been decreed by the Federal Court which created the organisation, says Mr Smith. He is taking over from Robert Campbell who resigned. Mr Smith says he will keep the acting position for about six months.
He says extensive consultation is under way about several Indigenous Land Use Agreements for commercial and residential land (the white areas on the map).
The corporation covers mostly the municipal area of Alice Springs and small areas nearby.
A spokesman for Arts Minister Chansey Paech says moves are underway to compulsorily acquire the Anzac Oval site.
“In May 2020, the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation wrote to the Government on behalf of traditional owners to declare their support for the Government’s plans to build the gallery at Anzac Oval.
“We have not received any notification from Lhere Artepe that this position has changed.”