Grant Goldman Editorial Tuesday 26 September 2017

Powerhouse saga continues; this is what we have been commenting on for past 6 months.

NSW lurches from unnecessary crises to crises, of their own doing and most likely will continue up until to the 2019 state election as the government appears unable to help itself. Council amalgamations, failed greyhound racing ‘reforms’ and ultimately the continued unravelling Powerhouse Museum saga.   SMH front page Tuesday, August 29th; “Billion-dollar Power trip” by correspondent, Nick O`Malley illustrates how NSW stands accused of excessive secrecy through its decision for the wholesale relocation of Ultimo’s Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta.

Expert witnesses appearing before an upper house inquiry have claimed the cost can exceed $1.5 billion and risks destroying irreplaceable and precious artefacts at the heart of the museum’s collection. Opposition to the move and the Government’s refusal to release its business plan for the project is growing; forming an unlikely alliance between the Greens’ MLC David Shoebridge and the Shooters’ and Fishers’ party’s Robert Borsak MLC, who is the chairman of the upper house’s inquiry into the plan.

Despite promising to release a preliminary business plan by March the government has ‘now’ declared the documents’ to be “cabinet in confidence”. Mr Borsak MLC said he was frustrated by what he called the government’s ‘excessive secrecy’. He likened the government’s refusal to offer details of its cultural or business case for the move to its alleged secrecy over the WestConnex project and the failed greyhound racing ban debacle; not to mention the amalgamation mess of some Council’s.

The museum’s founding director, Doctor Lindsay Sharp; who is a world recognised expert on museum construction told Fairfax Media that the decision to move the museum had been made ‘in haste’, ‘secrecy’ and without genuine consultation by a government otherwise ideologically driven by an inner-city development agenda. The decision was ‘Fire-sale’ Mike’s. He believed they could amass up to $300 million by ‘flogging’ the Museum’s existing site to finance its needless relocation and nevertheless apparently unconcerned about the heritage listed status enjoyed by the museum’s current buildings. Dr Sharp, a museum expert, said the Baird – Berejiklian regime had no idea how much the construction of a new museum would cost. [Including transferring around 240,000 artefacts]

Since becoming Premier, Gladys had appeared to be reconsidering the issue. A meeting occurred in Parramatta on July 26. However, just  hours before a second scheduled meeting was to take place at Ultimo, Ms Berejiklian suddenly announced a government deal had been made with the Parramatta Council [taking advantage, while under administration] to purchase from them an inferior alternative museum site on the Parramatta River with little consideration apparent regarding its flood zone. This crazy expensive outcome made by the Premier has been actively encouraged by the Daily Telegraph’s outgoing State political reporter who had seemingly ignored any positive advantages of the Museums Ultimo site. Whose close proximity to public transport and international hotels, encourages foreign tourists via Darling Harbour; and is readily accessible to rail, road and sea.

Foolishly, Mr David Borger another former State politician, since emerging as western Sydney’s director of the Sydney Business Chamber has challenged the expert’s $1.5 billion estimate. Well, I would like to ask Mr David Borger what are you and the Business Chamber doing to promote and protect the existing rich convict-era world heritage value buildings and cultural precinct already entrusted to Parramatta at Fleet St, North Parramatta? Because [it’s now in jeopardy of being largely destroyed by proposed unit developments]. These are the types of questions the Telegraph’s State’s political reporter Mr Andrew Clennell should instead be asking? Now it seems he is off to another paper.

Prominent Australians; including actor Shane Wittington, renowned historian Thomas Keneally and the unforgettable Jack Mundey are campaigning against the Parramatta and Ultimo cultural vandals.

Parramatta doesn’t need to have her greatness transplanted from Ultimo. Her rich convict past should be preserved into a living rebirth of OLD SYDNEY TOWN to rival the Rocks. Instead we witness yet another example of the Macquarie Street’s insatiable desire to sell off public assets and in the interests of private developers. The sale of the historic Powerhouse Museum might possibly further enrich developers, some of which may even be political mates of governing party activists. Not unlike all the other recent examples of radical neoliberal privatisations being foisted upon a tired NSW public by an unrepentant Coalition. We lately have become aware that NSW’s $12 billion Crown Lands’ estate [i.e., parks, golf courses, caravan parks and grazing properties] are to be officially re-valued as a prelude to their impending large scale sell-offs. So it seems the NSW Coalition’s political actions are for their MPs to get into positions of power and then start selling off key essential assets in an almighty property disposal binge of the places we used to love most and enjoy.

The people of NSW are sick and tired of the actions of ‘fire-sale Mike’ & ‘gullible Gladys’.

We thought that Baird was a past NSW mistake only to find the incumbent has shape shifted and transmorphed into Bairdjiklian. Are there any viable leadership alternatives? Certainly a different approach to governing is required.

Wake up NSW,

What he said.

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