Statement from the PMA on Labor’s Arts and Cultural Policy, 21 January 2019

A Statement from the Powerhouse Museum Alliance on Labor’s Arts and Cultural Policy, 21 January 2019

The Powerhouse Museum Alliance (PMA) welcomes Michael Daley’s commitment to protect the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) and spend $500m on a new Western Sydney cultural institution in Parramatta, based on consultation with local communities.

Jennifer Sanders, the former deputy director of the Powerhouse, described yesterday’s announcement outside the PHM:  “Labor’s cultural policy is visionary not blinkered, cost effective not wasteful, and it is about cultural equity for the people of NSW.”

The PMA particularly welcomes Labor’s commitment of $100m for a Western Sydney Cultural Fund and $200m for the Regional Cultural Fund.

Four years ago, when the Powerhouse Museum Alliance was formed to offer impartial, expert museum advice in the wake of the government’s ill-informed and reckless decision to “move” the PHM, we had three main aims:

  • Keep the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo as a flagship state museum
  • Develop a distinctive new museum in Parramatta, based on transparent consultations, one that is unique to the region’s history, cultures and contemporary life
  • Create a fair and equitable museum plan for the 21st century that supports museums and communities in Western Sydney and regional NSW, and landmark museums in Sydney.

Labor’s policy has the funding and commitments to deliver all three of the PMA’s objectives.

All museums must start with community consultations, and that is what Labor will unleash with the promise for a new cultural institution based on genuine consultation with arts and heritage organisations in Western Sydney. It is mystifying why the Berejiklian government claims that this will result in a second rate museum.

Labor’s funding commitment for a new $500m Western Sydney museum, with its own board and legislation, is a vote of confidence in the nationally important stories, cultures and creativity in Western Sydney. This can never be second rate.

Museums are custodians of cultural heritage, not agents for demolishing heritage buildings or places. The PMA welcomes the promise of a future Daley Labor government to assist with the state heritage listing of the PHM; to protect and preserve the North Parramatta heritage precinct, which includes the Parramatta Female Factory, and pursue World Heritage listing for the site; as well as protecting Parramatta’s Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace.

Labor’s policy is a victory for common sense, cultural equity and heritage protection of the PHM and Parramatta’s heritage places. If a Daley government is elected, the whole of NSW will benefit from Labor’s cultural policy. Only developers will lose out.

The Powerhouse Museum Alliance will to continue to offer expert museum advice to all parties interested in museum policy and planning, to maximise cultural benefits and opportunities for communities across NSW.
Powerhouse Museum Alliance

For links to Daley’s announcement and news reports and comments, go to PMAs news chronology, from 20 January 2019 on.

For Labor’s media release, read: 190120 daley powerhouse museum arts policy   and Arts policy: arts policy final