First there was one Powerhouse Museum proposal to move the existing facility to Parramatta. Now the NSW government has backed down on the expensive relocation of the Powerhouse Museum from inner-city Ultimo to western Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in the city will remain open and operate alongside a new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta.
The museum will now boast four centres across greater Sydney, including the “jewel-in-the-crown” in Parramatta, and the existing Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill.
The highly-politicised move, first flagged by the Liberal Baird government more than six years ago, was slated to cost as much as $645 million. The Labor opposition had promised to keep the museum at its existing Ultimo location if elected in 2019.
The news comes little more than a month after the NSW government shelved plans for the $800 million redevelopment of ANZ Stadium.
The creation of Powerhouse Parramatta represents the most important cultural transformation of the institution and signifies a major shift in how Sydney thinks about itself, its culture, and its communities. It marks the largest cultural investment since the Sydney Opera House and for the first time, a State cultural institution will be located in Western Sydney – in Parramatta, the geographical heart of Sydney.
Powerhouse Parramatta will return to its origins through the creation of exhibition spaces of extraordinary scale that will enable the delivery of an ambitious, dynamic and constantly changing program that provides new levels of access to Powerhouse Collections.
Powerhouse Parramatta will reflect the communities and cultures of one of Australia’s fastest growing regions. It will hold First Nations culture at its core and set a new national benchmark in culturally diverse programming. The Powerhouse will be highly connected through multiple transport links and integrate into the fine grain of the city, presenting a program of new large-scale events for up to 10,000 people that will expand the annual cultural calendar of Sydney.