@3 You must be living under a rock in the …

Comment on Sparks fly between Festival and Imparja, sacred sites authority by Neville Perkins, Chairman, Mbantua Festival.

@3 You must be living under a rock in the Alice Matt. The Mbantua Festival was extensively advertised and very well covered in the months leading up to the Festival with posters in many local Alice shops, on CAAMA Radio, on Radio 8HA, on Sun FM, through a stand at the Alice Show in July this year, major articles in the Centralian Advocate and in many great frequent television advertisements on the Network Ten’s Central Digital Television. Many flyers were also distributed widely around the Alice.

Neville Perkins, Chairman, Mbantua Festival Also Commented

Sparks fly between Festival and Imparja, sacred sites authority
@2 Surely not the way for you to go Helen. I don’t know what it is like to live under a rock, but I can tell you that I have been between a rock and a hard place some times over the years. I am wondering whether you live under a rock.

Sparks fly between Festival and Imparja, sacred sites authority
@ 9 Please don’t murder that pint and join with us in celebrating our town’s first successful world class Mbantua Aboriginal Cultural Festival Nimby!

Sparks fly between Festival and Imparja, sacred sites authority
As the administrative head of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA), ostensibly responsible for a government authority run from Darwin, Dr Scambary should know better than to launch such an offensive and irresponsible diatribe against myself and our first Mbantua Aboriginal Cultural Festival, laced as it was with ludicrous language that is not based upon the facts.
Dr Scambary’s recent irresponsible outburst in Alice Springs News Online against myself and our successful first Mbantua Aboriginal Cultural Festival again highlights the need for our Territory Government to review and reform AAPA and its Act as a matter of some urgency.
At the same time, our Territory Government should have a close look at Dr Scambary to see if he is the right person to be running the administration of AAPA in future. Our successful first Mbantua Festival has not been the first to have some serious problems with AAPA and its Act, I can remind him and the readers of Alice Springs News Online.
We had no problems with the local staff of AAPA in processing our application for an AAPA certificate to have our Festival in our own country at the old Telegraph Station. Dr Sophie Creighton and other AAPA staff at Alice Springs, much to their commendable credit, did a very good job processing our application and liaising with us. Some Alice Springs based AAPA staff who attended our Mbantua Festival have congratulated us, told us that the Festival was great and that they enjoyed many Festival events.
For the information of Dr Scambary and the readers of Alice Springs News Online, the facts and the truth are as follows:
1. We had to apply for an AAPA certificate to have much of our Mbantua Festival, including the “Bungalow Song” Show and traditional dancing, at the old Telegraph Station, our very own Arunta country.
2. We were initially told by AAPA that we would have to pay a fee of $10,000 for the certificate to be issued by AAPA and then we were told by Dr Scambary that he was waiving $5,000 of this fee and we would have to pay $5,000 for the AAPA certificate to be issued. I had advised Dr Scambary that I am an Arunta Traditional Owner and Custodian. We were left wondering why we had to pay so much or anything to AAPA to have our major Aboriginal Cultural Festival in our very own country and why Dr Scambary would not waive the AAPA fees to support or sponsor our inaugural Mbantua Festival, which was hosted and organised by our very own local Arunta elders, leaders, traditional owners, native title holders and custodians.
3. Dr Scambary never advised me that there were other costs to AAPA in processing its certificate and the first we knew about the other AAPA costs was when we read his recent diatribe in Alice Springs News Online. He should have done the right thing, but he did not, to exercise his own authority under the AAPA Act to waive the AAPA fee to issue the certificate.
4. Not only had I asked AAPA to waive the cost to issue its certificate on several occasions, I had complained to the Territory Minister responsible for AAPA at the time and to the Chief Minister’s Department in Alice Springs, when I was lead to believe that this AAPA cost would be waived in support or sponsorship of our first Mbantua Festival.
5. During the course of our deliberations with AAPA at Alice Springs over Mbantua Festival, we became aware that AAPA had some so called registered local Aboriginal custodians, who would not be identified by AAPA staff but who were advising AAPA about whether or not AAPA would issue a certificate for our Mbantua Festival at the old Telegraph Station. We were also told that some of these unidentified custodians had advised AAPA that they were not happy about our Mbantua Aboriginal Cultural Festival being held at the old Telegraph Station and that our Aboriginal men should not dance at the old Telegraph Station site where the Festival was held. There was no distinction made by AAPA at the time whether these men were Arunta men or other tribal men.
6. Anyway, I advised AAPA staff that I did not think that AAPA was getting the right advice from the right custodians for Atherreyerre, also known as the old Telegraph Station, for our Aboriginal men, including our Arunta men, have been having ceremonies, dancing and singing at Atherreyerre for thousands of years from before there was a Telegraph Station and that this could be proved, including looking at very old film footage from the Spencer and Gillen era of the old Telegraph Station. No offence was ever intended or directed at any Arunta custodian for Atherreyerre, contrary to Dr Scambary’s allegations.
7. Finally, after we had to follow up at length with AAPA we were issued a certificate by AAPA in time for our Mbantua Festival to commence on 9 October this year. AAPA required us to protect some of the sacred sites near the Festival events, which we did without question at much expense to our Festival budget. However, we were left wondering again why AAPA has not seen fit to date to protect all the sacred sites all the time at Atherreyerre and why a number of our sacred sites at the old Telegraph Station have already been damaged by visitors over many years as they have not been protected. I think we made history, among other things, by providing protection, that AAPA has not yet provided over our sacred sites within the old Telegraph Station National Park, during a major Aboriginal Cultural Festival event.
8. We have to question why has AAPA hitherto not provided protection for the various sacred Arunta sites with the old Telegraph Station National Park and why is it that the many other major non-Indigenous events that have been held at the old Telegraph Station over many years have not been required to provide protection to our various sacred Arunta sites during these events.
9. Far from being “shambolic”, as wrongly and offensively alleged by Dr Scambary, our excellent organisers and contractors have delivered a quite successful and well received world class Mbantua Aboriginal Cultural Festival for our great town of Mbantua, Alice Springs, despite the difficulties we experienced with Dr Scambary and AAPA in Darwin.

Recent Comments by Neville Perkins, Chairman, Mbantua Festival

Noted film maker owed money by Mbantua Festival
It is most unfortunate and disappointing that Alice Springs News Online has been full of misinformation and untruths reported about the Mbantua Festival, funding and so called creditors in more recent times.
We are therefore making a public statement soon about the facts and figures to do with the Mbantua Festival, which we hope will be fully covered in Alice Springs News Online.
We have also referred for legal advice a number of the false, misleading and possibly defamatory allegations made by some people about funding for and payment of the remaining creditors of the Mbantua Festival.
Neville Perkins, Chairman

[ED – As we reported, Mr Perkins has not responded to several requests for comment and information for a number of weeks. We look forward to his statement.]

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