More spin, not facts on gallery

5247 Dale Wakefield SMp2201-Lauren-Moss

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The government’s spin on the gallery project is as sustained as it is blatant.

 

In a media release this week Dale Wakefield, Member for Braitling (left), and Lauren Moss (right), Minister for Tourism and Culture, made the no-brainer announcement that Aboriginal engagement is critical to the success of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery – quite a discovery after being in charge of the project for two years.

 

They then trot out assertions apparently designed to support the government’s ham-fisted insistance on the Anzac Oval as the location.

 

“More than 140 Aboriginal stakeholders in Alice Springs have now been consulted on the National Aboriginal Art Gallery – with most supportive of the project,” says the missive.

 

Of course. Almost everyone in the town wants the gallery.

 

“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.”

 

That leaves it totally unclear how many of the 140 are –

 

(a) for the Anzac Precinct

 

(b) are site neutral

 

(c) suggest deferring to those with cultural authority (at least some of whom are in favour of sites south of The Gap)

 

(d) are for alternative sites.

 

So, in the absence of actual numbers, we are none the wiser whether (a) is greater than the sum of (b), (c) and (d).

 

If it is not then the people in (a), favouring the Anzac Precinct, are a minority – which strong anecdotal evidence suggests, anyway.

 

We will know more when the results of the Town Council’s public survey come to light later today.

 

UPDATE 8:40am

 

Since when does a “coffee” and a “conversation” constitute a credible scientific survey, asks Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley.

 

“When asked questions in Estimates about the methodology, data collection and general scientific approach used to execute this survey, Minister Moss failed to provide answers,” says Ms Lambley.

 

“She repeatedly stated it a was a ‘conversation’.

 

“This latest chapter in the National Indigenous Art Gallery saga continues to reflect the complete and utter incompetency of Moss and Wakefield in managing this critical project for our town.

 

“Alice Springs people are over this ongoing insult to their intelligence. They are over being treated like fools.

 

“The best that we can hope for is that the Council show some professionalism and leadership and use the results from their legitimate survey to make a well informed decision about the future of Anzac Oval.

 

“My position on the site for National Indigenous Art Gallery  has never wavered. I think the gallery should be built on the Melanka site. Ironically Government informed the public after the conclusion of their online survey in November 2017, that the Melanka site was ‘unsuitable’.”

 

 

 

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