“This is the first time in a long time that Indigenous people have had a voice at a high level of government to be able to influence and contribute in a way that truly exemplifies what Indigenous culture is in WA.”
Winmar said his ancestors roamed the shores of the foreshore and the site was significant. People were walking between Matagarup, Heirisson Island area, and Kaarta Gar-up, Kings Park.
“We want to be able to have a country experience right here on the waterfront,” he said.
“My ancestors walked these trails in the past.”
The new center would pay homage to them, would highlight the place and the richness, the diversity and the challenges they went through.
Private industries and philanthropists are expected to help fund the rest of the center’s construction.
Winmar said big business would have a role to play in healing the country.
Major corporations operating in WA like the mining company Rio Tinto have come under scrutiny for their role in the historic and recent destruction of Aboriginal heritage in places like the Pilbara.
The state government has asked the City of Perth to hand over management of the 31,972 square meter Terrace Road car park, which is Crown land, where the center would be built two years ago.
Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas said there would be ongoing conversations about transitioning the site from a car park to a cultural centre.
“I anticipate there will be a reasonable amount of time between now and its end date,” he said.
“It will give us the opportunity to identify alternatives and I think it is important to continue to advocate for public transport and alternative means of transport, which could eventually mean that we might not have need as many berries in the city.
“A lot of these bays are all-day users, so maybe that’s the kind of user that could switch to public transport.”
Zempilas said he was delighted the new center was in the CBD and on a site supported by traditional owners that better connected the city to the river.
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