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HomeIssue 3Gallery for Anzac, native title consent or not

Gallery for Anzac, native title consent or not


The government will push ahead with its proposed national Aboriginal art gallery on the Anzac Oval precinct no matter what is decided by Lhere Artepe at a key meeting tomorrow.

The native title organisation is currently supporting the controversial location but senior elders persist with their demands that the facility, for cultural reasons, should not be built north of The Gap.

“The NT Government has received and relied on support from Lhere Artepe, which represents the three estate groups, for the Anzac Precinct. We have no additional information that this is to change,” Arts Minister Chansey Paech told the Alice Springs News in an exclusive interview this afternoon.

The Minister made it clear that even if Lhere Artepe withdraws its support for the Anzac Precinct the project will be built there, as the process for compulsory acquisition from the Town Council of Anzac Oval is entering its next stage.

A Town Council-commissioned drawing of the gallery, illustrating a way of avoiding use of Anzac Oval for the project.

NEWS: That process can be stopped if – against your expectations – something happens at the Lhere Artepe meeting tomorrow, and it withdraws its consent.

PAECH: I’ll be very clear, we are going ahead with the compulsory acquisition. The government has made a clear decision, the previous Cabinet had decided on the Anzac Precinct. That is our preferred location. We’re in that position with the Alice Springs Town Council. They can move aside and allow the acquisition to go through without any cost to rate and taxpayers, or we can end up in court to do that. That’s a process that Minister Lawler has carriage of. We are not letting go of the economic and social opportunities, and the opportunities for Aboriginal people from Alice Springs to be involved in this project.

NEWS: We spoke to five of the top people, in a traditional sense, and they all said going south of The Gap is an issue. If they succeed tomorrow, what will you do?

PAECH: We have written correspondence from Lhere Artepe saying we can go ahead with that site.

NEWS: Is the opinion of the senior people important in the decision making?

PAECH: Absolutely. But we already have that written correspondence highlighting the support from the three estate groups who are supportive of this huge economic opportunity for the town.

NEWS: Are you familiar with the tensions and conflicts within Lhere Artepe over the last …

PAECH: There is tension within everything, Erwin. Nothing has 100% consensus and it never will. They are the registered native title bodies whom government needs to work with if they are looking for Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) or native title projects in and around the town. Based on their support we’re continuing with the Anzac Precinct site.

NEWS: Irrespective of opposition from senior Aborigines?

PAECH: I am not going to get into hypotheticals.

Mr Paech says Lhere Artepe support has allowed the government to continue with the compulsory acquisition of the site.

The period for mediation and consultation with the Town Council has now elapsed: “We will continue with the proceedings to acquire the land, or we will hopefully be in a position where the Town Council sees the economic opportunities for the town and allows the acquisition.”

He says projects centred on Aboriginal people should not be outside of town while major hotels or business opportunities will be built in the CBD, creating “major visitation spend” and reactivating the town.

Mr Paech rejected outright any suggestion of a deal between the government and Lhere Artepe over the gallery, but he was struggling to explain why the government was spending $20m on ILUAs with Lhere Artepe while it owned freehold the sewerage plant, about two square kilometres in size, unencumbered by native title, and positioned in the middle of the municipality.

Mr Paech said it was clear the facility some day had to be replaced with a recycling plant as water in The Centre becomes scarce.

He says the $20m project is part of an ILUA between the government and Lhere Artepe … around future planning for residential and commercial land.

PAECH: That process is separate. It’s been identified by the department as land which we need and which we’ve been looking for for some time.

NEWS: That’s the point. You’ve already got it. In the form of the sewerage plant. Why spend an extra $20m to buy more?


UPDATE February 2, 10am

IMAGE at top: Architect’s impression of the planned national Aboriginal art gallery in Adelaide.


  1. Build it there, no one will visit it because it’s in the wrong place, Minister Paech and Mr Smith.
    Too much crime.

  2. Spend the money on it, get it built, costs thousands, and watch our little darlings destroy it in one night, and every night after.

  3. Am wondering what is going on with the NT Heritage Council (HC) for which Chansey Paech holds responsibility within his ministerial portfolio?
    The term of the previous HC (of which I was a member) concluded in mid October last year.
    Applications for appointment to the next term of the HC were advertised in September last year, to be received by Monday, October 5 (I did not seek to re-apply).
    Says the web page from the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture: “The Minister for Arts and Culture and Heritage will appoint the members on the basis of expertise or experience relevant to the administration of the Heritage Act 2011”.
    That particular web page has not been updated since September 18, 2020 (
    Have I missed something?
    I know that the new HC was not appointed by the end of November and therefore the next scheduled regular meeting in early December did not proceed.
    I have not seen any media release from the NTG announcing the new Heritage Council to date.
    So far as I know such a situation has never occurred previously and it appears the NTG is in breach of its own legislation in the NT Heritage Act.
    How can the Heritage Branch function without a Heritage Council being appointed?
    The previous HC spent a lot of time and effort (along with NTG resources) to develop and approve Terms of Reference for its operation, at the behest and insistence of the NT Government.
    Those Terms of Reference included Key Performance Indicators through which to measure the activity and results of a chronically under-funded and overloaded Heritage Branch (
    If the new Heritage Council has not yet been appointed, it’s impossible to see how the requirement for Key Performance Indicators can be met in these circumstances – and this is a situation that has arisen immediately following the formal adoption of these rules as insisted upon by the Gunner Government.

  4. The government is completely out of touch with what’s more important: Solve the social issues first, you bunch of Labor [fools].

  5. Bring back the lash. Lawmakers must make lawbreakers fear prison – or the planned cultural centre is a waste of money.

  6. Looks like when the NT Gunner Government want to take over the Alice, they walk over everyone, black white and all from the Alice.
    So much for respect for any of our culture, black white or whatever.

  7. We have travelled extensively over the last 16 years promoting the Territory as a whole and Alice in particular at every opportunity.
    That has now ground to a halt and we tell the truth about the ongoing crime issues and the incompetent clowns running the NT.
    A senior public servant made the comment some years ago as he left the Territory with a very good super fund, get out while you can because it is only going to get worse.
    We did not expect it to get so bad in such a short period of time and unfortunately did not heed is advice.

  8. Does it matter, Chansey, if those ILUAs and other agreements are being approved without following Lhere Artepe’s own rulebook, or the Native Title legislation? Wouldn’t that make those agreements null and void?

  9. Sorry Chansey, but I don’t believe that you believe a word of what you’re saying.
    You seem to be more intelligent than that.
    You must know it is not true.
    You are just reciting from the Cabinet song sheet.
    But I would really like to know who has Michael Gunner’s balls in a vice to make him continue with this idiocy.

  10. What a part of Freud the NT government making this is bullshit and which traditional elders made this decision?
    With or without Lhere Artepe not happy Chansey Paech or Michael Gunner. Like to know these mob connection line to country and the site is actually a women site. What consultation with the proper people.

  11. Interesting, Geraldine. Given your families “ties” to Irlpme are only by adoption (some generations back now), the old adage “stones and glass houses” should be considered.

  12. Pwerle, where’s your proof we’re adopted?
    My mother’s grandmother is directly from Alice Springs. You want to go on about connection.
    You got no proof of our family’s adoption at least we got country and know where we are from.

  13. Yes very interesting graffiti. Sorry who is adopted? And which family member was adopted? You seem to know a lot about our families ties! Considering that my grandfather, his mother and grand parents are all from Alice Springs region.
    As for Lhere Artepe … shame on all the directors of Lhere Artepe wrongful people running the show … shame!
    And a big SHAME JOB to Chansey Paech and Michael Gunner for listing to wrongful people.
    This town is dying due to the crime from kids breaking into properties, stealing properties and now they want to graffiti their names everywhere or branding our town and yet neither of you wants to address a real problems this town is dealing with all day all night! Any solutions?
    As for the National Art Gallery, why near ANZAC Hill? Why near a women’s site? Why aren’t you listing?

  14. Put your name to your comment, Pwerle. What are you hiding from? Is it that your family have no proof of connection to Alice Springs? Pwerle, let’s have a cuppa and catch up and we’ll see who is who in the Native Title of Alice Springs.

  15. Native Title is non existent on the proposed oval site!
    So to acquire the land you need to talk to the TOs who by the Federal courts are listed as Custodians (who were in existence on Mparntwe prior to Government, AAPA, LAAC and CLC), and acquire permission from them, first and foremost, before proceeding.
    If you don’t know who has been consulted as a TO or have not ever been consulted for ANY Native Title matters as a TO, then you aren’t one.
    It is painfully, but blissfully entertaining on Chansey and the LAAC Directors, and those TOs that haven’t been consulted. *sigh*


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