Group generates momentum in museum battle

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Published 23 February, 2016 - Deborah FitzGerald

GroupGenerates.jpg“Around the table was a formidable group of eminent museum professionals, academics, small business owners and community representatives, and there was enormous goodwill and enthusiasm for working with the government." Jamie Parker, MP

A COMMUNITY group campaigning to keep the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo has rejected cries of ‘elitism’ after an alliance of high-profile artists and business professionals swung their weight behind the push.

Save the Powerhouse spokeswoman Patricia Johnson said a community campaign should include people from all walks of life.

 

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IWCFebGroupGenerates.jpgA COMMUNITY group campaigning to keep the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo has rejected cries of ‘elitism’ after an alliance of high-profile artists and business professionals swung their weight behind the push.

Save the Powerhouse spokeswoman Patricia Johnson said a community campaign should include people from all walks of life.

“Why shouldn’t professional people and people with higher bracket paypackets express their views in the same way as any other community member?” Ms Johnson said.

The open letter calling on the State Government to keep the museum on its current site was signed by almost 200 Australians, including Cate Blanchett, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Hungry Jack’s chairman Jack Cowin.

“We want Parramatta to have its own unique cultural institution,” Ms Johnson said.

The Save the Powerhouse campaign was founded by Ultimo residents in March 2015, in response to the Baird Government’s plan to sell the museum site to highrise developers for up to $200 million and move the museum to Parramatta.

A parliamentary debate initiated by the tabling of a petition from over 10,000 people opposing the Powerhouse proposal will held on February 25 at 4.30pm.

“At no stage have residents of inner Sydney nor Parramatta been consulted about any aspect of the Government’s proposal,” Ms Johnson said.

“It has stated that it will use the $200 million proceeds from the sale to build a new Parramatta Powerhouse but it is estimated that it would cost at least $600 million to build a comparable museum.”

Balmain State Greens MP Jamie Parker said he was optimistic the government would genuinely consider the recommendations from a summit about the Powerhouse at Parliament House last week.

“Around the table was a formidable group of eminent museum professionals, academics, small business owners and community representatives, and there was enormous goodwill and enthusiasm for working with the government,” Mr Parker said.

He said the group reached a consensus about delivering a world-class museum in Parramatta, as well as safeguarding the Powerhouse at its current site.

An open letter co-signed by the summit participants will be sent to Premier Mike Baird.

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