A huge waste of money was confirmed by later budget announcements

Display of heavy items eg the train and locomotive 1243, and the suspended aircraft, requires especially strong buildings not required by other cultural facilities such as those listed on page 18. The large items will often have to be last out of Powerhouse Museum and first into Parramatta museum with consequent years of building delays. A perfectly functioning steam reticulation will need to be rebuilt. The pointless, costly and risky move of 240,000 objects from Ultimo to Castle Hill is a scandalous waste of money for no public benefit or cultural outcome.[25] (Ms Kylie Winkworth).

Far from being able to carry out the move process with the proceeds of land sale at Ultimo, which was the original proposal, the cost of the ‘move’ as per the Government’s own Business Case is around $700 million dollars[26], an amount regarded by experts as very much under the amount that will be spent. To this must be added the loss to the public domain of much of the value of the Powerhouse Museum in its present site. The ‘book value’ of the Ultimo building at 30 April 2015 was $262,873,000[27], a small amount in comparison with its replacement value.

It is eminently appropriate that the best collection of steam engines in the Southern Hemisphere is displayed, as working machines, in the turbine room of Australia’s first commercial power station. The overhead Case crane, from 1899, is original and very rare. This area is intended to become part of the lyric theatre!

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References:

25] Ms Winkworth is a life fellow, donor and former trustee of the Powerhouse Museum. For decades she has been involved in museums and other cultural activities at a high level, and her book Significance 2.0 is recognised as a masterpiece in its field. No consultant employed in the preparation of the Business Case has anything remotely resembling her degree of skill, knowledge and experience in museum activities and administration.

[26] From Final Business Case, New Western Sydney Museum, Version Number: 07 Gate 2 Review Date issued: 14 February 2017 Table 5.3.6 Capital Expenditure

[27] Inquiry, Answers to Questions on Notice, MAAS Museum, 27/09/2016