Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Next Steps for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery: Working Closely with the Community

The Territory Labor Government remains determined to build the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs and today outlined the next steps for this very important project. 

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. 

“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.

“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.”

The Territory Labor Government will also ensure that: 

• Both rugby codes will have a quality new home

• Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre will stay

• Totem Theatre will stay

• Senior Citizens Centre will stay

• Sacred sites will be protected 

Importantly, green space will remain for concerts, events and community celebrations. The project will make the green space more accessible, as it is currently a locked oval. 

Key meetings will continue and the formal process will begin with local Traditional Owners and Custodians to work through any concerns and ensure that the project meets the cultural needs of the local people, as well as the social and economic needs of the town. Meetings will also continue with stakeholders across Alice Springs. 

Local people in Alice Springs can get involved and engaged in this project by: 

• Visiting the local team at a pop-up coffee chat, which will be held in Todd Mall commencing this month. Staff will be on hand to share information and to hear ideas about the project. Dates will be listed on the website shortly. 

• Visiting the local team at local events such as the Alice Springs Show or Territory Day where they will be present at the information stalls

• Book one-on-one meetings or invite someone from our project leadership team to visit your club or organisation to share more information about the project

• Signing up to the e-newsletter to stay informed or provide feedback by visiting the website https://artstrail.nt.gov.au/about-arts-trail/national-aboriginal-art-gallery 


Media Contact: Paige Nguyen 0428 727 244


Next Steps for NAAG