I welcome the announcement from the Morrison Government that it will fund the Ngurra precinct inside the Parliamentary Triangle.
It will deliver an overdue Indigenous institution inside the formal national precinct.
The proposal was developed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, which was established by the Menzies government to conserve Indigenous culture.
It will be a significant cultural institution to be determined and run by Indigenous people. It has strong local support. Ngunnawal Elders Council Chair Aunty Roslyn Brown said she was “absolutely blown away” by the announcement.
Similar foreign capitals maintain similar institutions which are focal points. This institution will rank alongside the High Court, Houses of Parliament and the Australian War Memorial.
The Prime Minister has emphasised the importance of this new landmark, saying: “When we build the Ngurra Cultural Precinct here, which we will, between the hill and the water, that vista will now be more complete.”
The establishment of Ngurra is in itself an act of truth telling as it will provide opportunities for repatriated remains to be interned. With a building such as this, local and national truth telling can be conducted.
I pay tribute to the Prime Minister, Indigenous Australians Minister, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Minister Morton and the Expenditure Review Committee which agreed to fund the project.
I also note the efforts of my colleagues Senator Dodson and Julian Leeser MP who led a Parliamentary Committee which recommended this outcome.
Without this institution, there has been a hole in the heart of the national capital. The hole will now be filled.
I hope the new building can be part of the ceremonial opening of Parliament in the years ahead. Equally, I hope we can deliver more of the Uluru Statement in the next Parliament.
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