Adverts ‘ruled out’

A FORMER senior City of Perth staff member says the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority ruled out advertising on a Noongar-inspired tower in Yagan Square.

“This was our fear but the MRA assured us no advertising would be on it,” the former employee said.

They’d been involved in discussions with the MRA, along with a range colleagues.

“I cannot speak on their behalf but I feel confident in stating not a single person would have endorsed advertising. We were told the digital tower would tell Aboriginal stories and showcase WA,” they said.

But the MRA has allowed up to 30 per cent of the sign’s content to be commercial advertising, upsetting Aboriginal custodian Robert Eggington (“Tower sell-out,” Voice, July 13, 2019).

The authority’s own website says: “We like to think of the screen as being like a giant digital art gallery, showcasing works from local and international artists.”

In the mix

The MRA told the Voice advertising had been in the mix since the tower’s inception, and the ad revenue paid for its maintenance and operation.

“The digital tower is the latest incarnation of previous advertising towers, which have occupied this prominent location for more than 100 years,” the MRA said in a statement.

It said advertising had appeared on the tower since the square was opened in March 2018.

But the ex-council staffer, speaking up after seeing our story, said that was cold comfort.

“To the First Nations people who were promised a space, a place that respected them and showed the world a small part of their magnificent history and culture, goodness, what can I write?

“Sorry doesn’t cut it; the only thing to do is remove the advertising.”

The tower’s design is inspired by the bullrushes that were removed from Lake Kingsford, an important food source for Whadjuk Noongars that was filled to make way for the Perth railway station in 1880. Its 14 columns represent the 14 Noongar language groups.

by DAVID BELL

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