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Daily Telegraph: Go West: Powerhouse Museum relocated to banks of Parramatta River under Baird plan

THE Powerhouse Museum will be relocated to the banks of the Parramatta River, the government will announce today, as Premier Mike Baird promises “an investment in Western Sydney for a generation”.

On his return from a trip to Israel, the Premier will announce that the old David Jones carpark on the banks of the river will be the site of the museum — and it will be 40 per cent bigger than the museum’s current Ultimo site. Construction is due to start in 2018 and finish in 2022. Powerhouse Museum

By 2030 the government aims to double the number of annual visitors to the Powerhouse to one million a year with a bigger focus on students and families and making the museum a “fun place to learn”.

In an interview to mark the start of The Daily Telegraph’s Go West campaign, Mr Baird said the government’s investment in Western Sydney through the West Connex and Metro, Parramatta light rail and other projects “should not be considered a one-off”.

“It is the start of effectively a generation of investment to come.”

He mentioned possibilities of a Bankstown to Liverpool metro link and the construction of an M9 Orbital as future prospects once current road and rail projects are done.

The Powerhouse’s relocation to the Parramatta River site, between Church Street and Wilde Avenue, is the first victory of this year’s Daily Telegraph Go West campaign.

One stated goal of this year’s campaign was to get a decision on a site and construction schedule for the move of the Powerhouse from Pyrmont. The decision to move from Ultimo came from the previous campaign, Fair Go for the West.

Mr Baird said the Powerhouse’s relocation to Parramatta meant that for the first time one of the state’s five major cultural institutions would be in Western Sydney.

The move will cost hundreds of millions but the government would be expected to recoup much of that from the Ultimo site’s sale.

“Locating the Powerhouse at Parramatta will ensure Western Sydney has a new, world-class cultural institution that will be a major drawcard for local and international visitors,” Mr Baird said.

“The site on the banks of the Parramatta River is the ideal location for the new Powerhouse Museum, which will serve as the anchor for a new arts and cultural precinct.”

Deputy Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant said detailed planning work would now occur with vital consultation with Parramatta City Council and the community.

“This site will deliver a vibrant, exciting community hub by the beautiful Parramatta River that can be easily accessed and enjoyed day and night,” Mr Grant said.

Mr Baird said Western Sydney was the engine room of the national economy. “The important point is that we have made a significant investment in a number of projects already underway but that doesn’t mean you take your foot off the pedal,” he said. “There is still a lot more to do across Western Sydney.

“There’s a number of projects on this (Go West action plan) list where there is a commitment and work being done but I understand we need to start bringing some of those forward. The M4 (East) and M5 (duplication) are well ahead. By the time we get to 2019 those two will be done and that’s going to provide a huge benefit to Western Sydney but … it doesn’t stop there.

“(It is also about) what are we doing with public transport and how we bring that forward, things like the potential extension of the metro from Bankstown to Liverpool, but at the same time how we deal with the rail system and the connection to the airport that’s coming.

“So all of these, whether it be transport or education or the arts or any of the other priorities identified, the investment in Western Sydney should not be viewed as a one-off. It’s an ongoing commitment for a generation to come.”

On the prospect of a future M9 Orbital ringing the outer west from the Central Coast to the Illawarra, Mr Baird said “ work needs to be done”.

“But that is something we are considering — when that will be built as part of our infrastructure work.”

On the Action Plan goal of providing airconditioning to all Western Sydney classrooms, the Premier said: “There is a huge investment in the education sector. Looking to make the facilities as comfortable as possible continues to be a focus.’’

He said he was the Minister for Western Sydney because “it is drawing on so many parts of government in an unprecedented infrastructure spend that I see the best way in terms of representing the region … to have it associated with myself.”

To view the article, please click on the link provided: Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2016