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Traditional owners withdraw support for National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs

Traditional owners withdraw support for National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs
January 12, 2019

The Northern Territory Government's plans for a National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs are in doubt after Indigenous traditional owners withdrew support.

Having previously offered support for the project to proceed at Alice Spring’s Anzac Oval, key traditional owners have this week advised that they no longer support the Art Gallery being development on the site.

Having last year abandoned plans for a museum that was to have told the story of the ‘Stolen Generation’ of Indigenous Australians in Darwin, the move by Aboriginal family members in Alice Springs is an embarrassment for the Northern Territory Government.

The Northern Territory Government had allocated $50 million in initial funding for the Art Gallery, with more outside investment expected, with the hope of building it by 2022.

Currently the site of the town's main rugby field and an unused school, the Northern Territory Government had offered Alice Springs $5 million for the site.

A spokeswoman for Northern Territory Culture Minister Lauren Moss said the news was a surprise, given the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority had met with the owners to consult about protecting sacred sites and been given the "all-clear".

In a statement, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the “Art Gallery can deliver significant economic, social and cultural benefits to the people of Alice Springs and Central Australia and create hundreds of jobs for locals.”

The statement added that “key traditional owners for the Anzac Hill precinct have previously offered support for the project to proceed at this site.

“The Government has been advised that key traditional owners have changed their position and withdrawn support for the project at this site.

“The Government respects traditional owners and is currently considering this change in their position.”

Image: Alice Spring's Anzac Oval had been the proposed site for the new National Aboriginal Art Gallery.

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26th April 2018 - Northern Territory Government scraps plans for Darwin ‘Stolen Generations’ museum

26th March 2018 - Northern Territory Government picks Alice Springs site for new Indigenous museum

2nd February 2016 - Northern Territory Labor leader pledges funds for Aboriginal art centre in Alice Springs

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27th November 2013 - Study reveals the impact of Public Art Museums

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