Don Harwin to seek feedback on Powerhouse Museum relocation to Parramatta

The public will soon have the opportunity to give feedback on plans for the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta.

Arts Minister Don Harwin wants to ensure the new world-class museum is designed with input from western Sydney.

A final business case to be released later this year will expand on options for the new museum.

This may include keeping a Powerhouse presence at the current site in Ultimo. 

Museum poll

“The new Parramatta museum will be on the cutting edge of science and innovation, bringing the very best to a booming Western Sydney,” Mr Harwin said.

“The NSW government is committed to building a truly iconic museum in western Sydney and we want it to be one the community can proudly call their own.”

Mr Harwin said the new museum would be the flagship campus for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, which also has sites at Castle Hill and Millers Point.

Parramatta MP Geoff Lee said the expanded business case would ensure Western Sydney was getting the best possible museum. Negotiations with Parramatta Council for the proposed Riverbank site were progressing.

“The new museum will bring vast cultural opportunities, jobs and economic growth to the region during and before its expected opening in 2022,” he said.

However, Opposition Luke Foley accused the state government from walking away from its promise to relocate the Powerhouse Museum from the CBD to Parramatta after Mr Harwin revealed the government will consider keeping some Powerhouse presence at the current Ultimo site. 

“This is a stab in the back to the people of western Sydney,” Mr Foley said.

“During the last election, Mike Baird promised to move the Powerhouse Museum entirely to Parramatta because western Sydney deserved ‘one of our great cultural institutions. Now that he’s gone, Gladys Berejiklian and Mr Harwin are prepared to trash that promise.”

Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney director David Borger added:

“While it is disappointing the commitment by former NSW Premier Mike Baird to bring the entire Powerhouse and its collection to Parramatta will no longer happen, we are keen to ensure most of the elements of this legacy are kept. We are relieved to hear the mothership of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences will be located in Parramatta and will be a significant cultural boost to the area. Parramatta deserves an iconic, cultural building that Western Sydney residents can enjoy. The details of the Parramatta Powerhouse are still sketchy but we realise this can be a great opportunity to start from scratch and build something the entire community can be proud of. The new Powerhouse Museum will be an attraction for Western Sydney residents and a drawcard for tourists that will contribute to the social and economic fabric of the region but we must guarantee the scale and impact of this new museum is world-class and nothing less.”

Parramatta Council is confident that a business case with a proper methodology will show that it’s the ideal place for the relocation of the mMuseum from its current Ultimo site.

“What better way to further demonstrate that than by committing to a world-class Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Parramatta,” council general manager Greg Dyer said.

“Parramatta is Sydney’s economic powerhouse, our jobs powerhouse and our growth powerhouse, and what would be truly transformational for our region is the Powerhouse Museum.

“The Powerhouse is what it needs both culturally and economically, and from an equity perspective, what it deserves.

“We are confident that any business case will show that from a geographical, population and financial perspective, moving the whole Powerhouse to the west is the best option.

“Parramatta is Sydney’s Central City, yet there has not been any significant investment in cultural infrastructure – state or federal – here since the 1988 bicentenary,” Mr Dyer said.

Museum of Applied Arts and Science Trust chairman Professor Barney Glover said the expanded business case showed the importance of the arts and culture to the NSW government.

“The MAAS Trust remains committed to working with Government to realise investment in MAAS and deliver on the vision for world class facilities in Parramatta and across all MAAS venues, now and into the future,” Professor Glover said.

Parramatta Council will soon launch a social media campaign We Want The Powerhouse Museum, to highlight the strong community support in Western Sydney for the relocation (see video below).

Parramatta Council video

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