MEDIA RELEASE - January 5, 2016
As part of the ongoing campaign to save the Powerhouse Museum, Greens Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker MP, is organising a summit of eminent museum professionals and academics to highlight the Government’s pathetic proposal to relocate the museum to Parramatta.
“The summit of museum professionals and academics will expose the flawed government agenda in proposing to sell purpose-built museum facilities,” said Mr Parker.
“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. Best practice would be for the Government to consult with the community and undertake cultural research and planning.
“At the summit, we will debate the reasons why the Powerhouse Museum should remain in Ultimo, including the significant risks to the size and accessibility of the current collection if the move proceeds. We will also hear why the people of Western Sydney deserve a new state museum, possibly a satellite branch of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, along the lines of the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
“The campaign to save the Powerhouse has attracted support from across Sydney and NSW. The proposal to sell off and demolish purpose-built facilities that are in good condition -$25 million was spent on refurbishments in the past five years - and are more accessible to most visitors than any new site, is seen as wasteful and misguided.
“People, regardless of where they live, can clearly see this proposal is more about a hand out for big developers than expanding cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney or anywhere else.
“Local residents are proud of the unique mix of heritage, industrial, educational and residential that defines Ultimo. The Technological Museum opened in Ultimo over 120 years ago, and the Powerhouse identity is manifestly linked to the historic Ultimo Power Station.
“The Government’s numbers simply do not add up and that means there is a genuine risk a relocated Powerhouse Museum will be significantly diminished. Putting aside the outrageous waste in demolishing the existing buildings, the site is expected to sell for around $200 million which is only a third of the cost of replicating and relocating the Powerhouse.
“It is difficult to find anywhere else in the world where a government is selling purpose-built museum facilities less than 30 years after opening. NSW will be culturally and financially poorer if this proposal proceeds,” said Mr Parker.