Australian National University professor Jon Altman also spoke at the forum and lambasted the territory government’s homelands policy to turn 20 towns into regional hubs.

Funding to more than 500 outstations, or homelands, would be frozen, forcing residents into larger towns in order to have access to vital social services.

Professor Altman has been studying visual arts in indigenous communities for the past 30 years and said the move would crush the Aboriginal art industry.

“The lack of support for outstations may see centralisation and this will have a disastrous impact on the visual arts for the very simple reason that most of it is produced at outstations,” he told the forum.

“The Australian state, be it the commonwealth or the Northern Territory, cannot intervene into communities and run the arts.

“It does not have the capacity and it will not get community support.

“If successful, the state-project of improvement via state intervention will destroy Aboriginal creativity and the arts.”