Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Aboriginal Engagement Critical to the Success of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery

More than 140 Aboriginal stakeholders in Alice Springs have now been consulted on the National Aboriginal Art Gallery - with most supportive of the project. 

Stakeholders include Aboriginal Elders, Native Title Holders, Traditional Owners, and people from different Aboriginal groups and town camps.  A majority are supportive of either the Territory Labor Government’s preferred site of Anzac Precinct, are site neutral, or suggest deferring to those with cultural authority over the site.  A minority of stakeholders prefer alternative sites.

Key feedback from Aboriginal stakeholders include: 

• The Art Gallery will be an opportunity for young people to learn more deeply about their art and culture, and the art of other Aboriginal people from around Australia 

• The Art Gallery will attract more people from around the country to Mparntwe where we can share our art and culture with visitors who can respectfully learn from them 

• Many Aboriginal Traditional Owners, elders, leaders and people welcome the prospect of more jobs and business opportunities for Arrernte people and other local people in Central Australia through this project 

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) has issued an Authority Certificate over the Anzac Hill Precinct, including the old Anzac Hill High School site and Anzac Oval, meaning development can go ahead subject to sacred sites in the area being protected and honoured in accordance with the conditions set as part of the sacred site survey process.

The Authority Certificate identifies both Registered and Recorded Sacred Sites that must be protected, and how they must be protected throughout the entire construction and development phase and into the future of the Gallery. 

AAPA consulted widely with Aboriginal custodians of sacred sites before issuing the Authority Certificate.

Key meetings with local Traditional Owners and Custodians will be ongoing to work through opportunities and also how the Territory Labor Government can respectfully deliver a project that meets the cultural, social and economic needs of local people. 

Quotes from Dale Wakefield, Member for Braitling

“The National Aboriginal Art Gallery will be an iconic destination that puts Central Australia’s rich Aboriginal history and culture on centre stage. This is a project that will revitalise Alice Springs and provide economic opportunities. 

“The community said they wanted to be better engaged on this important town-changing project, especially in relation to consultation with Aboriginal groups. Over the past three months, we have extensively engaged with local Aboriginal people and we will continue these discussions into the future.” 

Quotes from Lauren Moss, Minister for Tourism & Culture 

“This is an extremely important, visionary project that will give us all a spectacular cultural institution that finally acknowledges and respects the First Nations people of Australia.

“Local Aboriginal engagement and support is critical to the success of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery

“The Gallery will showcase and celebrate a globally significant, Australia-wide art collection from the world’s oldest continuous culture.

“It will attract thousands of visitors from across the globe every year and will create hundreds of local jobs during construction and create and support hundreds of ongoing jobs once complete. It will deliver significant flow-on benefits to local business.”

Media Contact: Paige Nguyen 0428 727 244