The Powerhouse appears to be next on the agenda in the Coalition’s state assets sale. This month I am asking Council to support the Museum on its current Ultimo site and oppose the sale of more public land to developers.
The Museum of Applied Arts and Science has existed in various forms since 1879 and has been on its current site at the old Ultimo power station since 1988. In its current form the Powerhouse Museum carries historical significance for the inner city. The public benefit of this site will be lost if it becomes another luxury high-rise apartment building.
The chronic under-funding of arts and culture in Western Sydney is an important issue and The Greens are enthusiastic supporters of the creation of new cultural precincts and another Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Western Sydney. We want to see an expanded cultural sector across greater Sydney. The Baird Government’s proposal will see a zero sum gain for Sydney in terms of cultural spaces and the sale of scarce inner city public land that we will never get back.
The Premier has argued that the sale of the land in Ultimo is necessary to fund a new Western Sydney museum. Yet in four years of Government we have seen very little from the Coalition in terms of cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney. If this was a priority for O’Farrell and Baird we should have already seen some serious investment instead of the billions that will be spent on financially and environmentally unsustainable projects such as the Westconnex toll road. Instead we have this very tidy announcement to ship an existing museum out west made only eight weeks before an election.
My colleague Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain, is running a campaign on this issue. I encourage you to visit his website and sign the petition to protect this important cultural asset.