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HomeVolume 29Paech silent on critical underpinnings for proposed gallery

Paech silent on critical underpinnings for proposed gallery

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Arts Minister Chansey Paech (pictured), distracted perhaps by the scandal over his ownership of shares in an alcohol distribution business, is not answering questions about the critical underpinnings of a project he is charged to deliver: the national Aboriginal art gallery.

The Alice Springs News emailed him on February 9 – 10 days ago:

• What is the date of [the gallery’s] business case? We covered the Ernst & Young one in 2019, delivered by Mark Crees.

We pointed out that that was before the Covid pandemic, subsequent changes in attitudes to travel, airfares becoming even higher, the persistence of significant disagreement between senior Aborigines and the government about the location of the gallery, a decrease in population, and businesses, meant to be benefitting from the gallery, shutting down. We asked him to comment on all these factors.

• Has there been a new business case? [If not] will there be one? When?

We also asked about staffing for the gallery, understanding that contracts for several non-Aboriginal staff have not been extended.

• Is there a plan for all staff to be Aboriginal? If so, please point out where that is the case.

• Do you believe the director of the gallery should have a profound background in the arts. Do you think the current one [Sera Bray] does?

Ms Bray was confronted by angry members of the public at a meeting in September last year, opposing the chosen place of the gallery at Anzac Oval, the compulsory acquisition of the land from the town council, and stressing that senior women custodians of sacred sites do not approve of the location. 

Earlier reports:

March 18, 2023 Government gets Anzac Oval but money issues unclear

April 15, 2021 Director appointed for National Aboriginal Art Gallery

May 15, 2023 Alice national Aboriginal art gallery: Don’t hold your breath

July 28, 2023 Gallery spin continues

July 31, 2023 Anger over $7.17m gallery design but Paech mum

4 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if Mr Paech has gone back to consult further with those senior cultural custodians as directed by NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal a couple of years ago?
    Also, during the public meeting mentioned above, Ms Bray said that as part of the project, she would repair past damage done to an important woman’s site.
    Ms Bray also said she had not consulted with the senior custodians since being in her role. I wonder if she will consult at all before she sends in the bulldozers.

  2. Please follow up on the consultants who keep changing the rules of how the Community Centre (the old Natalie Gorey pre school, now the Seniors Centre) is to be changed and the access point to Wills Terrace to be across the road from the Todd Tavern.
    The pulling down of the monument on the green opposite the Todd Tavern, for another walking track to the gallery.
    It seems all airy fairy and no one knows what they are doing, except upsetting the local Alice Springs people who are having their sacred site (Anzac Oval) destroyed.

  3. The current government will not make any decisions on this gallery now, and they have kept doing nothing for some time now.
    Given their pathetic performance on this debacle, the increase in crime to huge amounts over the past nearly seven years and the lack of integrity with all the undisclosed shares in the Labor government, they are probably just waiting now to be voted out of government so they can wash their hands of all the mistakes they have made.
    Then blame whatever upset is caused with decisions that need to be made, on the next government in power. I just hope the current opposition steps up now and shows they are actually capable of taking over. I have so many doubts and am totally disillusioned over all of the NT political parties.

  4. @ Fed up with NT politics: You are totally disillusioned over all of the NT political parties? You are not the only one, but maybe people should study the past before casting their votes.
    Nothing has changed since the 70s.
    From Federation until 1911, the Northern Territory was part of South Australia.
    After that, it became a territory, controlled directly by the Federal Government.
    However, the NT was granted self-government on July 1, 1978.
    Are we better off?
    One has to study the promises made by all parties and see that it is going worse.
    I believe the political mantra
    “NO MATTER how bad things are, you can always make things worse,” and “we are between Scylla and Charybdis.

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