By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Mparntwe custodians are unanimously opposed to the acquisition of ANZAC Oval for the Aboriginal art gallery (NAAG) and the NT Government should go back for more talks.
“Consultations by the Northern Territory Government have not, to date, been adequate,” was the recommendation released this afternoon by the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT), after a government request for advice.
The Town Council says it “acknowledges and accepts the ruling” of NTCAT: “Council is pleased NTCAT have listened to our evidence and deemed the community consultation between the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners as insufficient.
“Council now encourages the Minister to acknowledge today’s ruling and seek more appropriate and genuine consultation with Traditional Owners and Council.”
Says NTCAT: “However, although we have upheld that part of the Council’s objection, we do not consider it a sufficient reason for us to recommend against the acquisition [of the oval] proceeding.
“We do, however, think it is very important that the people with the strongest traditional connection to the land (wherever it is) that is ultimately to host the NAAG be given a significant voice in decisions affecting its conception, development and operation.
“The NAAG will, after all, be a celebration of the artistic expression of the traditional connections between indigenous Australians and their lands.
“We have therefore made a recommendation that the Minister consider undertaking further negotiations with the Mparntwe custodians before making a final decision whether to acquire Anzac Oval.
“We have also recommended that the Minister consider whether protections already in place for sacred sites on the proposed NAAG site are adequate.”
The 47 page statement is signed by NTCAT president Richard Bruxner and Member Andrew Macrides.
UPDATE September 22, 1pm:
After five long years of mismanagement by the Gunner Government it seems we are still in the consultation phase for this major, game – changing project for Alice Springs,” says the Independent Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley.
“This has been the greatest debacle , the greatest stuff up of all time by the Gunner Government.
“Minister Lawler has been sent off with her tail between her legs to consult with the people who should have been properly consulted with from the start.”
Ms Lambley says she has no doubt that the government will “arrogantly pursue their preferred site of Anzac Oval.
“I have no doubt this battle is far from over. Thanks to the ineptitude of the Gunner Government this wonderful project may never be fully realised as the grand and national iconic National Aboriginal Art Gallery it was intended.”
The Government has 12 days to respond to this NTCAT determination.