NSW Government to retain Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo

AAR-MAAS-Powerhouse-Museum-photo-by-Geoff-FriendSydney’s Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo will continue to welcome visitors to its world renowned exhibits, with the NSW Government today announcing it will remain open and operate alongside the new state-of-the-art facility planned for Western Sydney.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the decision would ensure Sydney had two world-class facilities and would provide a significant boost for the arts, tourism and employment sectors.

“Sydney is a global city of more than five million people and this will allow us to provide an outstanding visitor experience in the areas of technology, science, engineering and design at two major locations,” said Ms Berejiklian.

“It will mean far more people have access to many more of the amazing exhibits held by the Powerhouse and importantly, help us create vibrant centres to inspire learning in the fields of sciences and applied arts for the next generation.”

The decision means the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) will soon boast four centres, including the jewel-in-the-crown Powerhouse at Parramatta, Ultimo Museum, Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill.

Mr Perrottet said the existing museum at Ultimo would complement the new future-focused Parramatta facility, as well as providing a jobs boost and support to the arts community, which has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are focused on growing our economy and building our state, with the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, Parramatta Light Rail, Metro West train line and building a new world class museum at Parramatta all part of that,” said Mr Perrottet. “This is about recognising the passion and hard work that has created the Powerhouse and ensuring the vision for a bigger brighter future is realised.”

The retention of Powerhouse at Ultimo will ensure jobs are retained, while the new museum at Parramatta will support around 1100 construction jobs, up to 2400 indirect jobs, and hundreds more once opened.

The NSW Government had planned to sell the current site at Ultimo for up to $195 million with these proceeds to be contributed towards the cost of building the new museum at Parramatta. The Government will explore if some of the funds earmarked for relocation costs could be used on renovations.

The Premier said the Government would not waver in its commitment to deliver a world-class facility at Parramatta. “The new museum at Parramatta will give us the opportunity to create something special that benefits millions of people for years to come,” said Ms Berejiklian.

“At the same time Ultimo will evolve and grow alongside the newly announced Tech Central the revamped Sydney Fish Market, and rejuvenated Darling Harbour precincts.”

City of Parramatta Council Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer says it is critical the State Government delivers on its promise to build a world-class Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta, following the announcement that the Ultimo Powerhouse will remain open.

“I’m pleased that the State Government has today confirmed it is still committed to delivering a world-class museum in Parramatta,” said Cr Dwyer. “The decision to retain the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo should not compromise the investment we were promised for an iconic cultural institution in Western Sydney.

“Parramatta is the centre of global Sydney and the engine room of NSW’s economy. We deserve a world-class cultural institution that recognises and nurtures our region’s thriving arts sector, supports thousands of jobs, and drives visitors to our great City.

“I look forward to working with the State Government to ensure they deliver an iconic Powerhouse in Sydney’s Central River City that we can all be proud of.”

Earlier this week, Council reaffirmed its support for the Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta and for the retention of two important local heritage sites – Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace.

The Government will work with MAAS management, the Trustees and the broader arts community to determine how the two major sites best complement each other. For more information, visit: www.maas.museum for details.

Image: Powerhouse Museum – photo by Geoff Friend / MAAS