The NT Government today outlined its next steps for its National Aboriginal Art Gallery project, no mention of Katherine.
The Government said it remained determined to build the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
Member for Braitling Dale Wakefield, who will be leading the local consultation on the Gallery over the next few months, said that engaging with the community at a local level was the essential next step towards the success of the project.
“Alice Springs is the rightful home for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery. It is on the doorstep of Namatjira country and Central Australia is the birthplace of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement,” Ms Wakefield said.
Katherine had made a late bid to host the gallery through Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson and Mayor Fay Miller.
“It is geographically and spiritually the heart of Australia. It is not right for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery to be anywhere else in the country. We want to share Australia’s Aboriginal history and culture through art, to the rest of the world right here in Alice Springs,” Ms Wakefield said.
“It is important that for this town-changing national project to move forward, we need to engage and communicate better with the people of Alice Springs to hear and discuss their ideas and concerns. I acknowledge that there is some misinformation out there about the project and also about our preferred site, the Anzac Hill precinct, which needs to be addressed.
“Over the next few months, I will be leading a community engagement program, with the support of a local across-government team to be on the ground engaging with local people. There are people in the community whose voices we have not heard and we will be using this opportunity to talk to them.
“For the Anzac Hill precinct to move forward as the home of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, we need to alleviate any concerns that the local people of Alice Springs have about this site. We believe that the Anzac Hill precinct is the best site because it is the only site in the CBD that fits our size requirement of 40,000 square metres to accommodate the building, parking and landscaping.
“A CBD site also has the best chance for investment from the Commonwealth Government through town centre rejuvenation initiatives and it will also be in a better position to attract private investments because of the flow-on economic benefits.
“This project will create hundreds of local jobs and the gallery will be the first of its kind in Australia. It will achieve maximum social and economic benefits to the town through a boost to local jobs, retail, and tourism visitation.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.