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Urgent probe launched as SA Govt warned First Nations culture centre could fail on world stage

Callan Morse -

Amid a significant budget blowout, the South Australian Government has launched an urgent review into the Tarrkarri - Centre for First Nations Cultures proposed for Adelaide's Lot Fourteen.

The decision to review comes after the government was advised by the project's managing contractor that current plans for the centre would "fail to deliver a centre of international significance as originally envisaged".

The project's managing contractor has projected current plans were now expected to cost $250 million, $50 million more than originally budgeted.

Global architectural and consulting practice Woods Bagot and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have advised the government the existing budget would lead to a significant reduction in scope, delivering a centre of "local state-level standard".

The advice has prompted the government to launch an urgent review to determine how to best deliver the originally planned First Nations cultural centre of international significance.

Former Federal Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt, ex-New South Wales premier Bob Carr and Reserve Bank of Australia board member Carolyn Hewson have been tasked with the review.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was confident that the trio would ensure the centre became an worthy landmark.

Further on-site progress has been suspended, pending the review's outcome.

Mr Malinauskas said it was of economic and cultural importance for his government to make the correct decision on the project's future.

"Put simply, it doesn't make sense to invest $200 million of taxpayers' money for a sub-standard outcome which will fail to deliver a centre of international significance," he said.

"I am determined to ensure this is a project which delivers for our state for the long term, both culturally and economically."

The government's vision for Lot Fourteen is to create Australia's premier Aboriginal arts and cultural centre.

South Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher said the centre must become a landmark centre for Indigenous culture.

"The Centre for First Nations Cultures at Lot Fourteen is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create an internationally significant landmark to celebrate First Nations peoples," he said.

"Properly honouring and paying respect to the oldest living culture on the planet is something we have a duty to get right."

Shadow Aboriginal affairs minister Josh Teague said the project's delay was unacceptable.

"The Labor government inherited this extraordinary legacy and must commit to seeing it through," he said.

"Labor's delay is unacceptable, knowing that with delay comes increased cost and disappointment."

The review team have been asked to report back to the government as soon as possible.


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