The list below includes submissions of specific relevance to the argument for not relocating the Powerhouse Museum.
These papers include support for developing a new cultural facility in Parramatta, within a strong policy for museums and galleries in NSW.
They were submitted by members of the informal lobby group, the Powerhouse Museum Alliance, with related submissions from external colleagues and organisations.
This paper was presented at the first hearing of the NSW Govt Upper House Inquiry: Museums and Galleries, 2016; 3.0 – 3.30 September 6, 2016
For all submissions, and transcripts for all 13 public hearings (as well as an Interim Report dated 18 Dec 2017): Read more
28 February, 2019
Museums and galleries in NSW Inquiry: Final report tabled
‘Powerhouse Museum Relocation should not proceed’
Three weeks before the NSW state election, Robert Borsak, Chair of the Inquiry into Museums and Galleries in NSW, announced that the committee’s Final Report has been tabled for consideration in Parliament.
For media release: Read more
For Inquiry webpage, with submissions and transcripts: Read more
For Final Report: Read more
For transcript of in-camera session: Read more
Recommendations in report, with detailed background provided, are:
1: That the NSW Government not proceed with the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta.
2: That the NSW Government restore the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo, by providing a significant injection of funding for refurbishment and expansion.
3: That the NSW Government, instead of relocating the Powerhouse Museum, establish a world class cultural institution in Parramatta that reflects its own extraordinary history.
4: That the NSW Government consider establishing a Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences satellite site in Western Sydney.
5: That the NSW Government exempt state-owned museums from the annual efficiency dividend.
6: That the Legislative Council, in the 57th Parliament, establish a Select Committee to inquire into and report on the governance of the arts and culture sector in New South Wales, with particular reference to the governance and management of the Powerhouse Museum relocation project.
Links below refer directly to Parliament’s website for this Inquiry.
1.0 Submissions: from the Powerhouse Museum Alliance
167: Powerhouse Museum Alliance: purpose and support
Background for this informal lobby group of professionals.
0167 Powerhouse Museum Alliance
113: Abdication of statutory responsibilities by trustees and lack of inspection transparency in government processes. 0113 Mr Nicholas Pappas
142: Mythbusting: addressing the arguments to move the museum 0142 Ms Jennifer Sanders
142a: Costs and risks of moving the museum 0142a Ms Jennifer Sanders
142b: A cultural plan for the 21st century 0142b Ms Jennifer Sanders
142c: Moving Museums: a brief survey 0142c Ms Jennifer Sanders
142d: Planning for NSW’s Cultural Development: a tale of two proposals 0142d Ms Jennifer Sanders
142e: Statement on the independence of museums No. 142e Ms Jennifer Sanders
142f: A cultural plan for the 21st Century No. 142f Ms Jennifer Sanders
142g: Response to released Business case papers No. 142g Ms Jennifer Sanders
142h: Analysis of the final 2014 business case: No. 142h Ms Jennifer Sanders
142i: PHM An exhibition archive 1988-2018 (C Sumner) No. 142i Ms Jennifer Sanders
96: Expectations of Audiences: constituents must be considered 0096 Dr Grace Cochrane
96a: Sustainability? Appropriate investment for sites and programs 0096a Dr Grace Cochrane
96b: For the Record: Briefing paper for Premier, August 2015 0096b Dr Grace Cochrane
149: Ten important issues regarding the proposed move of the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta; and consideration of alternative strategies to support museum development. 0149 Ms Kylie Winkworth
148: I: The Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta ‘move’: a critical analysis of the NSW Government’s planning and costing processes: 0148 Dr Lindsay Sharp
148a: II: The Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta ‘move’: a critical analysis of the NSW Government’s suppressed planning and costing documentation… 0148a Dr Lindsay Sharp
148b: III: A possible alternative focused on human creativity and the creativity of western Sydney’s multi-cultural Communities… 0148b Dr Lindsay Sharp
148c: IV: Widespread consultation required in the greater western Sydney region as to what kind of new cultural facility they wish to see established in Parramatta. 0148c Dr Lindsay Sharp
148d: V: Site selection process in Parramatta. 0148d Dr Lindsay Sharp
148e: VI: Commercial aspects driving Ultimo site divestment/sale by Govt to facilitate the unaffordable, destructive and impractical concept of ‘moving’ the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. 0148e Dr Lindsay Sharp
148f: VII: Performance by Board of Trustees, dominance by Government, sub-optimal project oversight, potential conflicts of personal interest, reduced access and risks to collections, misleading messaging and lack of transparency. Decline of museum’s educational role; senior management project competence, appropriate design and exhibit development abilities and internal curatorial skills base. 0148f Dr Lindsay Sharp
148g: VIII: The new museum project in Western Australia – comparison with the ‘Powerhouse Museum move’ to Parramatta. 0148g Dr Lindsay Sharp
148h: IX: Committee of Review proposal; an appraisal of the ‘Powerhouse Museum move’ to Parramatta project in terms of consultation, location, planning process, cost and scale. 0148h Dr Lindsay Sharp
141: Plea to review decision, from PHM Life Fellow and benefactor. 0141 Mr Trevor Kennedy
103 and 103a: Comments from PHM Life Fellow, Honorary Associate and benefactor, on responses from donors and benefactors, criticism of funding cuts, consultation process and others. 0103a Ms Anne Schofield
Marco Belgiorno-Zegna AM
162: International comparisons with proposal and no successful examples; value in satellites; inconsistency with other cultural institutions; Government’s unwillingness consider any improvement in accessing the Powerhouse site from the Haymarket/Darling Harbour side, including Light Rail access; ‘…nothing other than an attempt by the NSW Government to curry favour with the western Sydney electorate. In pursuing this strategy the Government is merely taking a short-term view that may be in its own interests and not those of the people of NSW.’ 0162 Mr Marco Belgiorno-Zegna AM
2.0 Related papers: Individuals who oppose the relocation and suggest better alternatives
155: Government cultural planning 0155 Mr Lionel Glendenning
155a: Powerhouse Museum: cultural investment 0155a Mr Lionel Glendenning
155b: Urban design and architecture 0155b Mr Lionel Glendenning
158: Questions significant presumptions, consequences, and shortfalls in both process and long-term outcomes; some irreversible consequences; alternative planning for direct access, stimulus and enrichment of communities radiating around Parramatta. 0158 Ms Bernice Murphy
132: Within broad policy discussion, includes: The proposal to move the Powerhouse Museum to the western suburbs, specifically Parramatta, is one of the most ridiculous proposals concerning cultural institutions in the history of this state. Its rationale and costing are more than seriously flawed, the promoted reasons and outcomes are laughable and the major considerations which the government has addressed have been concealed. 0132 Dr Desmond Griffin
136: 1) Access to the collections; 2) The sale of the Powerhouse Museum site in Ultimo and its proposed move to Parramatta, and whether there are alternative strategies.| 0136 Ms Christina Sumner OAM
143 a: Question costing process and conclusions for move; PHM needs new investment rather than costly move; better strategies for museum and gallery development on Western Sydney; b: Adequacy of funding support for collection-based museums, and transparency of advice; c: consider Castle Hill venue; impact of efficiency dividend on museum programs; value of web-site access. 0143 Ms Debbie Rudder
105. To discredit the argument advanced by Infrastructure NSW that the current location of the Powerhouse Museum is “remote” and therefore unsuitable because it falls outside a proposed “Sydney CBD cultural precinct”. It also expresses concern about apparent inconsistencies between the Government’s previous and current policy on this matter and in the decision-making process. 0105 Mr Andrew Grant
105a. There is a compelling synergy between the Powerhouse Museum’s impressive display volumes and the large engineering and transport exhibits. This is expressed through the relative scale, materials and forms of building spaces and exhibits and the original functions that they served. This key relationship greatly enhances the visitor experience and could not be recreated if the exhibits were displayed in any other building. 0105a Mr Andrew Grant
135: Mismanagement of public funds; inadequacy of proposed site; barrier to tourists; breakup of synergistic creative associations. 0135 Ms Sandra McEwen
121: Opposition to sale and relocation of Powerhouse Museum; request for better alternatives for Parramatta. 0121 Ms Patricia Johnson
93: Recommendation to reverse ill-thought out decision; relationship between the collections, exhibitions and programs of MAAS and the Ultimo site is extremely important; if moved to Parramatta, it will close entirely within twenty years, through lack of visitation and community support. Better options for Parramatta. 0093 Dr Belinda Nemec
144: Absence of research and strategic analysis is perplexing; Western Sydney cultural facilities should be enhanced; not convinced that there is strong enough foundation for moving the Powerhouse to Parramatta, but support different solutions so the cultural facilities of Western Sydney can be enhanced. 0144 Ms Louise Douglas
153: Alternative strategies; costs of moving; impact of efficiency dividend. 0153 Ms Rosalind Ward
65: Significance of both collection and buildings; need central location. 0065 Mr Terence Measham
90. The future of the Powerhouse Museum, and access to its collections. 0090 Dr Shirley Fitzgerald
119. A dozen cogent reasons as to why this proposal is not only misguided but also absurdly costly, in terms of both money and loss of prestige. No. 119, Leo Schofield
137, a,b,c: Oppose the relocation; heritage value of buildings and large exhibits; and other issues such as costs, safety, place in Ultimo.
0137 Mr Tom Lockley 137a Mr Tom Lockley 0137b Mr Tom Lockley
Pyrmont History Group
0015: For people of Ultimo and Pyrmont – and of the inner city as a whole – access to their own industrial and social heritage. 0015 Pyrmont History Group
Ultimo Village Voice
0022: Opposes the sale of the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo and its relocation to Parramatta, while firmly supporting the establishment of new cultural facilities in Western Sydney. 0022 Ultimo Village Voice
Mrs E Boesel
169: Concern at inadequacy of site and safety of collection; the move will devalue potential for cultural tourism; no alternatives other than purchasing an adjacent building in Ultimo and curtail any plans to proceed with a move to Parramatta. 0169 Mrs E Boesel
118: Serious flaws in proposal to relocate; consideration of alternative strategies. 0118 Mrs Darani Lewers
139: Oppose the move; questions of access, sale and transparency of process. 0139 Ms Jane Burns
156: Concerned the proposed relocation to Parramatta will effectively kill off the Museum as a significant cultural institution; should stay in …the tourism, creative and education precinct of Ultimo.. 0156 Mr Charles Wilson
Janet De Boer
101: Access to collection from interstate; opposition to demolition of buildings; lack of adequate consultation re both Powerhouse and Parramatta. 0101 Dr Janet De Boer
104: Significance of collection; importance of central location. 0104 Mr Carl Andrew
120: Oppose total move; consider better options. 0120 Sue Boaden Cultural Planner
97: Danger that we will lose the Powerhouse and western Sydney will get a substandard facility. Other options better for Parramatta. 0097 Ms Marina Garlick
122: Oppose move: proposal appears arbitrary, lacks context, appears to be policy making on the run, politically motivated rather than a considered response to process and fails to respond to identified needs of the community. 0122 Mr Tim McDonald
128: To protect the Powerhouse Museum and its outstanding collection, is to leave it where it is; resource it adequately where it is, so that it can do its vital job of educating and enlightening visitors…; build a brilliant museum in Parramatta, and lend objects to it from all of Sydney’s state museums. 0128 Ms Irma Havlicek
78: Criticism of government decision and process in the face of existing Powerhouse strategic plan; opposition to proposed move. 0078 Mr Garry Horvai
157: Closure of Powerhouse Museum’s Migration Heritage Centre as a consequence of efficiency dividends and budget cuts, is an example of high level of inequity in arts and cultural funding for ethnic communities and rural and regional areas of NSW. 0157 Mr John Petersen
5: Observations on audiences for both the Powerhouse in Ultimo, and for Parramatta; lack of transparency in planning. 0005 Tor Larsen
82: Opposition to move of Powerhouse; government has a visibly, very poor record of community consultation; move is symbolic of the Baird government consistently placing the desires of big business over the needs of its citizens. Better opportunities for Parramatta. 0082 Dr Rebecca Spindler
Jesse Adams Stein
12: Powerhouse Museum to be retained at its existing location in Ultimo: Cost, Community, Heritage and architecture, urban amenity, linkages with educational institutions. 0012 Jesse Adams Stein
Robert Jeffrey Mellifont
19: Oppose moving Powerhouse from harbourside where it is part of an existing cultural and heritage precinct for existing and growing audiences. 0019 Mr Jeffrey Mellefont
Ms Jeanie Kitchener:
112: Feels strongly about maintaining the Powerhouse museum on its current site; where museum designed around the original power station. 0112 Ms Jeanie Kitchener
106: Oppose the sale and total relocation; look at better options. 0106 Mr John August
Dr Megan Hicks
133. Consideration of new museum in Parramatta and maintaining site in Ultimo. 0133 Dr Megan Hicks
Dr John Macintosh
174: As a civil engineer with expertise in flooding, details concerns for potential for loss of life and loss of irreplaceable collections. Recommends release of full business case and flood hazard appraisal for the Powerhouse Museum and all assessed proposals to the committee and the community for full public consultation before making its final decision. No. 174, Dr John Macintosh
175: From experience as a construction engineer and local historian, discusses the significance of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney’s Transport, Engineering and Manufacturing Heritage Precinct …The Government’s proposed repurposing of the Museum would inevitably lead to a loss of these vital historical and heritage links for the city’s residents and also to cultural tourism … No. 175, Mr Max Underhill
149 a-e: extra papers re NSW museum policies
a: Potential funding impacts on museums and galleries affected by council amalgamations. 0149a Ms Kylie Winkworth
b: NSW government policy funding and support for museums and galleries; & opportunities to revitalise the structure, reach and impact of museums in regional NSW. 0149b Ms Kylie Winkworth
c: NSW government policy; Opportunities to revitalise the structure, reach and impact of museums; Impact of the efficiency dividend; Development and transparency of advice. 0149c Ms Kylie Winkworth
d: Access to the collections of NSW government museums. 0149d Ms Kylie Winkworth
e: The economic impact of museums and galleries on cultural tourism; Sydney and regional NSW. 0149e Ms Kylie Winkworth
3.0 Related papers: Institutions (among others) that oppose the relocation and suggest better alternatives
21: Save the Powerhouse campaign 0021 Save the Powerhouse Campaign
15: Pyrmont History Group 0015 Pyrmont History Group
40.The Design Institute of Australia 0040 The Design Institute of Australia
61. Professional Historians Association of NSW
0061 Professional Historians Association NSW and ACT
50. Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials
0050 Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials
22. Ultimo Village Voice 0022 Ultimo Village Voice
29. Blue Mountains Cultural Centre – Blue Mountains City Council
0029 Blue Mountains Cultural Centre – Blue Mountains City Council
51. NAVA: National Association of Visual Arts 0051 National Association for the Visual Arts
42. Museums Galleries Australia 0042 Museums Galleries Australia
60. The Australian Ceramics Association 0060 The Australian Ceramics Association
46. The National Trust of Australia 0046 National Trust of Australia
131. Oriental Rug Society 0131 Oriental Rug Society of NSW
166. Australian Society for History of Engineering and Technology (ASHET)
166 Australian Society for History of Engineering and Technology Inc
159. Australian International Council on Monuments and Sites
0159 Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites
108. Engineers Australia 0108 Engineers Australia
27. Engineers Australia NSW Division – Engineering Heritage Sydney
0027 Engineers Australia NSW Division – Engineering Heritage Sydney
30. Greater Western Sydney Action Heritage Group
0030 Greater Western Sydney Heritage Action Group
Supplementary submissions listed on Inquiry site, April-May 2018
No. 67a Ms Judith White
Examples of Sydney Modern extension for AGNSW and other international examples… Revitalising the reach, impact, research and collecting priorities of galleries and museums requires ensuring that the focus on scholarship and curatorship is not damaged by budgetary stringency and the need to develop commercial revenue streams.
No. 96c Dr Grace Cochrane
Letter to MPs: Is any government really prepared to carry on its conscience the destruction of a long-established institution that uniquely integrates decorative arts and design, science and technology and social history … culturally embedded in its current location and easily accessible to all visiting the capital city of NSW?… As well, we cannot forget that all significant institutions need adequate recurrent funding for staff and programs; the ‘efficiency dividend’ has been devastatingly destructive.
No. 142f Ms Jennifer Sanders
ICOM Statement on the Independence of Museums, Paris, 27 March 2018 and its relevance to the current situation of the Powerhouse Museum and the Final Business Case Summary: Powerhouse Museum in Western Sydney.
No. 142g Ms Jennifer Sanders: Response to released Business case papers
No. 142h Ms Jennifer Sanders:Analysis of the final 2014 business case:
No. 142i Ms Jennifer Sanders: PHM An exhibition archive 1988-2018 (C Sumner)
No. 143a Ms Debbie Rudder
Does Sydney need a new theatre on the Powerhouse Museum site? The NSW government’s intention to split the MAAS collection into sciences at Parramatta and fashion at Ultimo is an appalling decision, compounded by the announcement that a large part of the Ultimo heritage site will be handed over to developers.
No. 149f Ms Kylie Winkworth
Paper sent to the Cultural Infrastructure Program Management Office (CIPMO) on 11 August 2017 after the consultations held at the Powerhouse Museum 31 July 2017, in response to the question ‘Is there anything else that should be taken into consideration when developing the business case?’
No. 149g Ms Kylie Winkworth
Paper sent to the Cultural Infrastructure Program Management Office (CIPMO) in September 2017 to highlight some of the issues, risks and misconceptions in the government’s approach to planning the PHM to Parramatta project. If not addressed they will likely have serious ramifications for the costs, sustainability and community support for the new museum in Parramatta.
No. 167a Dr Lindsay Sharp
Analysis of government’s sub-optimal ‘Summary’ business case of the ‘Final business case’ for ‘moving’ the Powerhouse Museum.
No. 175 Mr Max Underhill
The Significance of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney’s Transport, Engineering and Manufacturing Heritage Precinct. ‘The Government’s proposed repurposing of the Museum would inevitably lead to a loss of these vital historical and heritage links for the city’s residents and also to cultural tourism generally.’
No. 176 Mr Alan Landis
A Life Fellow of the Museum: I have been a passionate supporter of the Museum for forty years and helped establish many collectors’ societies. In discussions with a majority of them, they will not go or support by donation or time a move to Parramatta, surely funds spent on this action could be better spent elsewhere and both the range of objects in the collection a sample could be placed in a “re-cycled” historic property in Parramatta…
No. 177 Dr Cassi Plate
Dear NSW politician, I remain staunchly opposed to the proposed dismantling of the iconic Powerhouse Museum. It is outrageous that a great museum, built and endowed by the people of NSW, which opened just 30 years ago, is being stripped of its property and facilities, and evicted from its purpose built premises. All of the papers relating to this act of cultural vandalism are secret. No credible business case can justify the $1.2b cost of ‘moving’ the PHM just 23ks west to Parramatta for no net increase in cultural facilities.
No. 178 Mr Bob Roach
When people from regional areas travel to Sydney to sightsee or visit cultural icons, often with children, the tendency these days is to travel by train, coach or air to the CBD or nearby, to stay and be at the centre of things, e.g. Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Harbour Bridge, Art Gallery, National Museum etc. In its current location the Powerhouse Museum fits this bill, within easy reach by public transport. A shift to Parramatta will add cost and time spent on congested roads to any future visit, and this reason should be added to the myriad of other reasons to stop a change of location.