The absence of a significant building which recognises Australia's Indigenous heritage is a "hole in the heart" of the national capital, a Coalition backbencher has said.
NSW senator Andrew Bragg says the proposal to create a new precinct to hold the repatriated ancestral remains of Indigenous Australians could "rectify that void", as he called for the institution to be built within the next 10 years.
The former Australian National University student has also decried the lack of recognition of prominent Indigenous figures - such as Neville Bonner, Charles Perkins and Eddie Mabo - in Canberra's Parliamentary Triangle.
"We are shamefully bereft of recognition of Indigenous Australians in this precinct," Senator Bragg said.
The first-term senator laid out a Liberal's case for reconciliation in his recently published book Buraadja.
In an opinion piece for The Canberra Times, Senator Bragg argues that any country which has achieved reconciliation would have a significant Indigenous institution in its capital city. The fact that Canberra does not is an omission which must be rectified.
"The Parliamentary Triangle reflects our democratic tradition through two Parliament Houses, the High Court of Australia and numerous historic executive buildings," he wrote in the piece.
"It also reflects our commitment to arts and culture through the various galleries and the most magnificent of all, the National Library of Australia.
"It pays homage to our past and our future. But there's a hole in the heart.
"Short of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Reconciliation Place, there is no significant Indigenous building.
"For example, there is no national resting place to care for the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait ancestors that are unable to be returned to their communities of origin.
"There is no major precinct that school children can visit for Indigenous cultural purposes alongside their year 6 visit to Canberra to visit Parliament House and Questacon.
"We should not accept this hole. A reconciled nation would have a significant Indigenous institution in a purpose-built capital city."
Senator Bragg said the proposed National Resting Place - or Ngurra Precinct - is the type of large, Indigenous monument which would "enrich the national capital and Australia".
The Morrison government committed $4.7 million in this year's federal budget to develop a business case for the new cultural precinct.
In a statement, a National Indigenous Australians Agency spokesman said the business case was still being developed.
The spokesman said the report would include possible sites and costing options. There is still no timeframe for when the proposal might be green lit.
Senator Bragg said like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a National Resting Place would be a "sombre and sincere expression of our desire for reconciliation, humanity and unity".
"We should build it this decade," he said.
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