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ACC Steer Co

Signing of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre business case by the Steering Committee

Standing left to right: Lanie Chopping (Director General DLGSC), Peter Hill (Whadjuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Cultural Authority (WACCCA), Jodie Hanns MLA (ACC Steering Committee Chair), Barry Winmar (WACCCA), Jodi Cant (Director General, Department of Finance).

Sitting left to right: Cheryl Martin (WACCCA) and Beverley Port-Louis (WACCCA).

It’s been a busy start to 2023 for the Steering Committee, highlighted by the milestone achievements of finalising the business case for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the closing of our expression of interest process to expand the project’s Steering Committee to include regional representation.

Milestone achieved as first phase of the project reaches finalisation

The final meeting of the stage one project Steering Committee was held on 29 March 2023. At this meeting the Steering Committee noted the final stages of development of the business case for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre (Centre) and endorsed a preferred option for the Centre’s key functions and activities.

This meeting marked an important milestone for the project and signalled its next phase which will focus on further defining the Centre’s key functions, governance and content themes. The next phase will also extend its engagement with Aboriginal people with forums planned for each region across the state.

Development of the business case was a collaborative effort between Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) and Department of Finance, guided by the Whadjuk Aboriginal Culture Centre Cultural Authority (WACCCA) representatives, Aboriginal groups and partners, technical consultants and other State Government agencies.

The business case supports decision making to enable the development of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre for Western Australia in Boorloo (Perth) on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja (Country) and includes:

  • project purpose and background
  • investment proposal including benefits and Aboriginal stakeholder engagement
  • project scope and options including functional pillars
  • shortlisted options and analysis including site location, social impact/benefits and financial, timeframe, programming and planning assessments
  • final recommended option and implementation analysis.

Following the completion of this first phase of project development, the next stage of the project will commence with the development of the project definition plan, leading to a final investment decision upon its endorsement by the State Government.

Social impact and benefits integral for the Centre’s foundation

To support the finalisation of the business case, a social impact and benefits assessment was carried out to anticipate the outcomes of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre’s key activities and assess the impacts these outcomes are likely to make.

A dedicated Aboriginal Cultural Centre will support the cultural, social, and economic empowerment of Aboriginal people in WA and contribute to the enhancement of tourism opportunities. The benefits driving investment identified in the business case are:

  • greater awareness, understanding and celebration of Aboriginal culture, heritage and Country
  • advancement in truth-telling, justice, healing and reconciliation
  • increased economic opportunities for Aboriginal people in creative arts, tourism, and other cultural related industries
  • stronger connection and collaboration with and between Aboriginal people and communities.

The identified social impacts and benefits provided a framework for comparative assessment of each of the short-listed options in the business case.

New project identity reflects Wirin (Spirit), Boodja (Country) and Moort (People)

The Steering Committee endorsed an interim project identity and brandmark for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre project. The interim brand, which was developed by local Aboriginal owned design agency Nani Creative, will be applied during the planning stages, and until an appropriate name has been chosen for the Centre.

The creative concept is inspired by WA’s unique waters, landscape and natural environment, and the project’s core cultural values of Wirin (Spirit), Boodja (Country) and Moort (People).

The Aboriginal inspired identity will be integral as the project moves into its next phase and broadens its engagement into the regions and attendance at cultural and community events.

Expanded Steering Committee and governance models

To support the next phase of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre’s development, the structure of its Steering Committee will expand to ensure participation and engagement by a wide range of Aboriginal community members, with a particular focus on regional representation.

An expression of interest (EoI) process opened on 16 January and closed on 17 February 2023 seeking six suitably experienced Aboriginal community members living in regional Western Australia to serve on the expanded Steering Committee.

Following the close of the EoI, applications to the Steering Committee were assessed and will be submitted to the State Government for consideration with an anticipated announcement in mid-2023.

The expanded membership allows for a total of nine Aboriginal representatives including three Whadjuk Noongar members. They will have the entrusted role of providing critical cultural knowledge, guidance, and direction for the project definition phase of the project.

The Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ms Jodie Hanns MLA, is the appointed Chair of the Steering Committee and joins representatives from the Departments of Finance; Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC); Premier and Cabinet; Planning, Lands and Heritage; Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; State Solicitors Office and Treasury. The expanded committee will also include a representative from Infrastructure WA and the Australian Government, both with non-voting observer status.

The State Government would like to sincerely thank the inaugural members of the Steering Committee, especially the Whadjuk representatives; Gordon Cole, Charne Hayden, Peter Hill, Cheryl Martin, Beverley Port-Louis and Barry Winmar. Their commitment and cultural expertise contributed to the delivery of a significant body of work which has guided the development of the business case for the project.

Following the finalisation of the business case for the Centre, the next phase will focus on further developing the project definition plan and commencing an expanded state-wide engagement process.

This will provide an opportunity to update the wider Aboriginal community and stakeholders on the project’s progress and seek further feedback on the vision, functions, content and scope of the Centre.


Page reviewed 27 February 2023