Power struggles on the Western Front

Published

State member for Balmain, Jamie Parker, said he is organising a summit on the [proposed Powerhouse relocation] to be held in the near future to help finalise the debate.

The summit will focus on the key aspects of the proposed move and offer different solutions.

Mr Parker’s proposal is to construct a new Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences facility in western Sydney while keeping the Powerhouse in its current position.

“We will be seeking a commitment from the government to create a new, locally distinctive museum in Parramatta which will add to the cultural infrastructure of the wider Sydney region, not to perpetuate a false dichotomy of inner Sydney and western Sydney,” he said.

Mr Parker also criticised the current plan as “more about hand outs for big developers, rather than western Sydney’s cultural infrastructure”.

The Save The Powerhouse group has bitten back at comments made by Museum of Contemporary director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor regarding Powerhouse Museum’s potential move to western Sydney.

Before Christmas, Ms McGregor claimed poor urban planning had made the move essential.

The Save The Powerhouse campaign coordinator, Patricia Johnson, labelled the comment “untrue”.

“There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this,” she said.

“The convention centre is not only not blocking access but it is quite conveniently placed. Access has also recently been dramatically increased with the opening of The Goods Line.”

“Twenty-five per cent of all visitors to the Powerhouse are coming along The Goods Line.”

Ms Johnson also raised concerns over potential impacts to the local economy because of the changes to the “techno-educational chain”.

The “chain” includes UTS, the ABC, Ultimo TAFE and the Powerhouse, which Ms Johnson claims is important to the local start-ups.

“Together they have encouraged an innovative start-up sector which is now the leading technical start-up sector in Australia,” Ms Johnson said.

“Without the Powerhouse, who knows what will happen?”

This complaint is the newest in a back-and-forth battle between the government and the Ultimo community regarding the museum.

State member for Balmain, Jamie Parker, said he is organising a summit on the matter to be held in the near future to help finalise the debate.

The summit will focus on the key aspects of the proposed move and offer different solutions.

Mr Parker’s proposal is to construct a new Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences facility in western Sydney while keeping the Powerhouse in its current position.

“We will be seeking a commitment from the government to create a new, locally distinctive museum in Parramatta which will add to the cultural infrastructure of the wider Sydney region, not to perpetuate a false dichotomy of inner Sydney and western Sydney,” he said.

Mr Parker also criticised the current plan as “more about hand outs for big developers, rather than western Sydney’s cultural infrastructure”.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore also spoke out about the move, aligning herself Mr Parker.

“The City is strongly opposed to the closure of the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo but we also strongly support the expansion of much-needed cultural facilities in western and south-western Sydney,” she told City Hub.

“The City sees the Powerhouse as an integral part of the Cultural Ribbon we identified in Sustainable Sydney 2030, linking the Australian Museum, the Art Gallery, the Opera House, around the foreshore to the Walsh Bay theatres, a

promised cultural facility at Barangaroo and up here to Ultimo,” she said.

“It also plays an important role in the emerging Ultimo-Pyrmont-Chippendale precinct of innovation and creativity, and with the revitalisation of Darling Harbour and the Goods Line project, it will become even more significant.”

Despite the pressure, MAAS is intent on moving forward with the current plan.

A spokesperson told City Hub that the MAAS see this as a “once in a generation opportunity” and are continuing to progress on their Parramatta feasibility study.


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