Community Engagement Program
The Northern Territory Government is developing a world-class National Aboriginal Art Gallery (the Gallery) in Alice Springs, celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from across the country and supporting the economic development of the town.
The Government has identified the Anzac Hill Precinct, which includes the old Anzac Hill High School and the Anzac Oval, as its preferred site.
Initial community feedback indicated that residents wanted more comprehensive engagement in relation to the project. Listening to this feedback, a targeted three-month community engagement program was launched, running from 6 June to 31 August 2018.
The program was led by the Northern Territory Government Local Member for Braitling and supported by a local across-government team.
Using the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) methodology the purpose of the community engagement program was to:
- answer questions, address concerns and provide a mechanism for conversation around the vision and detail of the project
- engage with residents and key stakeholders on why the Anzac Hill Precinct was identified as the preferred site
- gather detailed feedback on the potential use of the site for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery
To ensure engagement was comprehensive and reflective of the whole Alice Springs community, the following stakeholder groups were engaged:
- Aboriginal individuals and organisations (in particular Traditional Owners and Custodians, Native Title holders, respected Elders, leaders, heads and staff of key organisations)
- Impacted user groups (including rugby codes, users of the site and adjacent facilities)
- Arts and cultural organisations and representatives
- Heritage and history interest groups
- General public
- Alice Springs Town Council
- Technical authorities
In addition to over one hundred targeted meetings, the community was encouraged to share their thoughts on the project and the site throughout the engagement period in a range of ways.
The key themes from the community engagement program were:
- Aboriginal stakeholder engagement is essential in all aspects of the project.
- Green space must be preserved and enhanced for community use, with crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principles adopted.
- Sufficient parking must be provided for visitors to the Gallery, site user-groups, and the community in general.
- Current users of the Anzac oval must have their needs considered as part of the development of the site, including the relocation and design of sporting facilities at an alternate site.
- The shared history of the site must be preserved, honoured and celebrated, including its Aboriginal cultural heritage and military heritage.
- The Gallery needs to maximise and leverage business opportunity and private sector investment, and must be a major factor in central business district (CBD) revitalisation.
- The Gallery must be an iconic building that draws the world to Alice Springs and reflects the central Australian context and the nature of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and knowledges.
Throughout the program it became apparent that the more people learned about the project, the more they supported the site at the Anzac Hill Precinct.
The results show that the majority of those engaged during the three-month community engagement program support building the National Aboriginal Art Gallery at the Anzac Hill Precinct.