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Premier Mark McGowan with members of the Steering Committee

Location revealed

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre for Western Australia will have a home located at the front door of Boorloo (Perth). The Terrace Road car park has been announced as the future site of the centre.

The site was selected by Whadjuk Cultural Authority representatives on the project Steering Committee and endorsed by the State Government.

In selecting the site, the Whadjuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Cultural Authority representatives were asked to consider 6 different locations near the Swan River. The selection of the site went through an extensive cultural investigation and consultation process.

The Whadjuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Cultural Authority representatives unanimously selected the Terrace Road location as their preferred site for the centre. The Terrace Road location has also been endorsed by the wider Whadjuk reference group for the project.

The site was chosen primarily because of its connection to the Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan), Heirisson Island (Matta Gerup) and Kings Park (Katta Koomba), which are places of cultural significance to Noongar people.

Business case update

Community engagement and feedback has been a crucial component to informing the planning and preparation of the Business Case for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Many engagement sessions with organisations and community members have helped to identify and refine the 6 functional spaces the ACC will encompass (hosting, community, performance, gallery, commercial and academic/research).

In close consultation with the Whadjuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Cultural Authority representatives, these 6 functions have been further refined to determine an extensive list of sub-functions. These subfunctions outline the specific activities that are to be considered for inclusion within the ACC.

This important work is helping the project team to progress the functional requirements for the business case. From the functional requirements, a long list of options for the centre will be identified. As part of the business case process these options will be refined down to a short list of three or four options.

A cultural analysis of the options will also be applied as part of the shortlisting process. The analysis will focus on the principals of ‘Spirit, Country and People’ to ensure appropriate cultural consideration of the shortlisted options.

These options are then subject to a quantitative analysis including cost estimates, financial analysis, and time programming, to allow for a preferred option to be recommended to State Government for its consideration.

Timeline for business case

A key role of the ACC Steering Committee has been to guide and review the options being developed within the business case. The finalised business case will be provided to the Steering Committee for review and endorsement in January 2023. 

Following approval of the business case by the Steering Committee in January 2023, it will be submitted to the State Government for endorsement. The project will then move into a detailed planning stage referred to as the Project Definition Plan.

Aboriginal Engagement Strategy

The project team have been busy working with Dr Richard Walley and his team on implementation of the Aboriginal Engagement Strategy. This has involved the completion of initial engagement with the Noongar community, and commencement of detailed second round discussions to seek feedback on the vision, function and scope of the centre.

Over 40 meetings and engagements have been held with Aboriginal people, Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations and Corporations, the South West Land and Sea Council, and relevant Peak Bodies within the Noongar Nation covering Perth, Wheatbelt, Southwest, Peel and Great Southern regions.

Positive acknowledgement has been received for the project and the wide-spread level of engagement being undertaken early in the project

Extensive State-wide consultations with Aboriginal people and communities has also commenced and will also help shape the vision and key functions of the centre.

Since the last Steering Committee, project team members have attended many regional events including; the Kimberley Land Council Annual General Meeting, Yamatji on Country event hosted by   Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), co-hosted a forum in Geraldton with the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub Western Australia (AACHWA) and held a community meeting with Yawuru in Broome. The team have also met with the CEO’s and Boards of Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA) Aboriginal Corporation; Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC); Wajarri Yamatji Aboriginal Corporation. Many more regional meetings are planned before the year ends.

During 2022 and throughout the life of the project the Aboriginal Cultural Centre project team will be travelling throughout regional WA to meet with local peak Aboriginal groups, as well as Native Title Prescribed Bodies Corporate, Native Title Representative Bodies; Service Providers and Aboriginal art and language centres.

The role of a strong Steering Committee

In 2021, the State Government established the ACC Steering Committee to provide strategic direction and oversight for Phase 1 of the ACC project. The ACC project has embraced a very different governance model with the appointment of six Whadjuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Cultural Authority representatives as members of the project’s Steering Committee. This is a first for any major infrastructure project in Western Australia.

As the project moves towards phase 2 of the project, the delivery of the project definition plan, the project will look at the structure of the ACC Steering Committee to ensure participation and engagement by a wide range of Aboriginal community representatives, including regional diversity.

Accordingly, the ACC Project Steering Committee has commenced the consideration of appropriate, fit for purpose governance models moving forward. This work will be refined over coming months with an expanded Steering Committee in place in 2023.

Tourism WA — ‘Jina’ Aboriginal Tourism Strategy

The Steering Committee had the opportunity to delve into Tourism WA’s ‘Jina’ Aboriginal Tourism Strategy, with a presentation delivered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

The Jina Plan was developed by Tourism WA, together with other government agencies, the WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Council and the State’s Aboriginal tourism industry.

The word ‘Jina’ appears across several Aboriginal language groups and broadly translates to ‘discoveries’. This is a fitting title for this plan as there is no better way to experience Western Australia’s spectacular natural environment than through an Aboriginal lens, learning from the stories and traditions handed down through the generations

The Jina Plan identifies outcomes across the following 3 focus areas:

  1. Make Western Australia the premier Australian destination for Aboriginal tourism through promoting the State’s extraordinary Aboriginal tourism experiences
  2. Build capacity for Aboriginal people to participate in the tourism industry through direct employment or by fostering the growth of sustainable Aboriginal tourism businesses
  3. Facilitate the development of more authentic Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences across Western Australia to meet visitor demand.

The Jina Plan sets the direction for government and the tourism industry to deliver transformational change for Aboriginal tourism through job creation, establishing new innovative cultural experiences and positioning Western Australia as an aspirational cultural holiday destination.

The opportunity is now for public and private sector partners to work together to implement the Jina Plan to make Western Australia the must-visit destination for authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences.

More information on the Jina plan can be found on the Tourism WA website.


Page reviewed 27 February 2023