Work has been moving along on the Aboriginal Cultural Centre Project since the Western Australian (WA) Government’s announcement in February 2021 of a $217 million plan to increase tourism offerings and support the sector through COVID-19. Identified in this plan was the investment of $50 million towards development of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre (ACC).
This allocation of funding recognises the importance of celebrating Western Australia’s unique Aboriginal culture and history and represents the most substantial commitment by any WA Government toward developing a State Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The Western Australian (WA) Government, with support provided through the Perth City Deal Project, has initiated the preparation of a business case to inform early planning of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre (ACC)
The ACC aims to have a significant impact on cultural infrastructure in WA and to be a major attraction for tourism, events, and the celebration of Aboriginal culture.
To bring the vision to life, this substantial investment will go toward planning, design works and seed capital for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Consultation and engagement with Aboriginal communities, and private and government stakeholders during development of the business case will guide and inform the project.
The State Government established the Aboriginal Cultural Centre Steering Committee (Steering Committee) in late 2021.
The Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ms Sabine Winton MLA, was appointed Chair of the Steering Committee. The remaining members include six Whadjuk Cultural Authority representatives and four State government representatives. The Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee are attached.
At a meeting in December 2021, a gathering of some 80 Whadjuk Male and Female Elders elected Gordon Cole, Charne Hayden, Peter Hill, Cheryl Martin, Beverley Port Louis, and Barry Winmar, as Whadjuk ACC Project Cultural Authority representatives. These members will provide critical cultural knowledge, guidance, and direction for the business planning phase of the ACC Project.
The appointment of cultural authority members is a first for a major project in Western Australia (WA) and demonstrates the State Government’s commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal people on projects and services that affect them and their communities.
Representatives from the Departments of Finance; Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC); Premier and Cabinet; and Treasury, make up the State Government members. DLGSC is the lead agency for the project and is working closely with the Department of Finance.
The Steering Committee held meeting in January 2022, with monthly meetings scheduled through to September 2022. This will culminate in completion of the planning phase of the project by September 2022 and subsequent consideration of the Steering Committee’s recommendations by the State Government.
At its February meeting, the Steering Committee endorsed the Aboriginal Engagement Strategy to guide meaningful engagement with Aboriginal people for this project.
The Aboriginal Engagement Strategy (AES) outlines the community engagement process with the Whadjuk (as the host nation) and the other five Noongar Indigenous Land Use Agreement Areas (ILUAs). The process then expands to include the remaining regions of Western Australia using traditional story and song lines.
Noongar ILUAs are Whadjuk, Yued, Ballardong, Gnaala Karla Boodja, South West Boodja and Wagyi Kaip. This represents an amalgamation of the fourteen groups that make up the Noongar Nation.
The planning for the project will include extensive engagement with Aboriginal people and communities across the State, using a Cultural Authority Framework.
The Cultural Authority Framework will embed Aboriginal-led community engagement and cultural decision-making processes in the development and ongoing operation of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Also agreed by the Steering Committee was the need to establish a panel of Aboriginal subject matter experts to provide advice regarding project development and technical detail.
The panel will be selected through an expression of interest process to ensure transparency, and which builds a talent base to draw from for the various stages of project development. Expressions of Interest will be advertised shortly.
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