Bulletin 34: Some questions
Many thanks to the people who have commented or questioned regarding the Business Case, and thank you to the people who have battled through the very amateur http://maasbusinesscase.com/ website to have a look at the Government's planning. The hit counter is slowly climbing and the questions I sent today, as reprinted below,  indicate a lot of effort is being made. I have been asked by MAAS representatives to make it clear that http://maasbusinesscase.com/  is not an official website, which i am duly doing, I hope I have thanked all contributors to the questions submitted. I will let what I sent speak for itself. We really need more input from economists, accountants, statisticians and especially lawyers. But regardless of your expertise, if you have time, please examine the Business Case and make comments or frame questions so that we can continue to make a nuisance of ourselves. Either send them yourself and send me a copy please, or send them to me and I will collate them and send them off.
Other things are happening and I hope to have more news soon.
Thanks for the interest and support,
Tom Lockley

Questions arising from examination of the Business Case so far. Submitted to the New MAAS Museum website email  maas.project@arts.nsw.gov.au on 16 July 2018.

Please note that we do not seriously expect any more response to these questions than we have received regarding our previous questions. We apologise to the workers at the website for inflicting this email on them, because we have strong reasons for suspecting that the responses to many questions we have asked have been prepared by the professionals. It seems most likely that the highest political levels have prevented the release of these responses. Yet this method of communication remains the principal avenue for contact suggested in the Government’s publicity and in correspondence etc. In these questions, ‘you’ can be taken as meaning the people at the highest levels of responsibility rather than the immediate recipients of this email.

We are submitting these questions so that the Government is unable to claim that the release of the Business Case has answered previous criticisms and that their plans have not been questioned. There remains strong opposition to the plans to ‘[move’ the museum, and this opposition is well-founded in factual material.

The email contacts available for the Premier and the Arts Minister directly are not suitable for the transmission of these questions, so a copy will be sent by registered snail mail today.

We have highly qualified people examining the Business Case material and expect to have further comment within a few weeks.

Basic questions submitted at this time:

1.       Why is access to the Business Case so restricted? It has taken us two weeks to get photocopies of perhaps half the Business Case, digitise them and start analysing. Why have you not simply put the documents online?

2.       Why have you not released any answers to our specific questions asked last July? All we have had is reference to the documents released. It is our understanding that answers have been prepared at the bureaucratic / public servant level but they have been withheld at the political level

3.       We can again find no evidence that any competent authority examined a range of options before deciding that the Powerhouse Museum ‘move’ was the best way of meeting the laudable policy option of increasing the cultural options of the centre of Sydney population. We have asked for information on this subject many times, and nothing has emerged beyond the recommendation of Infrastructure NSW that the matter should be investigated. As you have never replied to our questions with details of such an examination, we now assume that no such investigation was made. If this is incorrect, will you please advise as a matter of urgency?

4.       Kindly direct us to any place in the documents released which discusses the monetary heritage value of the present museum in its present building and the consequent financial loss by moving to a building of lesser heritage value.

5.       The various drafts of Appendix x, Collection and Logistics Plan, refer to appendices 1 to 6, but we cannot find them anywhere in the released material. Could you direct us to them, or if necessarily, release them? Appendix 6, Information Provided by MAAS would be particularly appreciated.

6.       Where can we find The Ultimo Service Need Analysis 2017?

7.       https://www.thecultureconcept.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Museum-Applied-Arts-Sciences-2020-Vision.pdf is a 2014 (?) document that outlines forward plans at that time. If the museum was so derelict as to require complete rebuilding, why was that not mentioned in this document?

8.       In 2014, MAAS developed a Business Case requesting funds for the renewal of the Powerhouse Museum…This identified current operations as unsustainable, and that existing infrastructure had reached the end of its useful life or was no longer fit-for-purpose. This is basically the only justification that has been made for the move that withstands preliminary examination, therefore the details must be made public.  Would you please these documents, immeidately, online? This material cannot possibly be ‘Cabinet in Confidence’.

9.       What exhibitions held at other venues, eg Tait Modern, Tate, V&A etc have had to be declined because of inadequate facilities at Ultimo? If the problem concerns such things as power supply, electronics etc what is the cost benefit in establishing a new site at Parramatta as against upgrading Ultimo?

10.   Phase one of community consultation about the new museum was held from 20 June to 18 and ‘reached more than 500,000 individuals and businesses’. We ask again for the methodology of this study and for full details of the data gained and the assessment of these data.

11.   We submit that the 2017- 22 MAAS Vision Plan (https://maas.museum/app/uploads/2017/02/strategic-plan-2017-2022.pdf ) contains no project that could not, and indeed has not, been carried out at high quality at the presnt Ultimo site. Could you explain the necessity for moving to the new museum to realise any part of this plan?

12.   We are examining the research findings presented in the (undated?) document entitled Appendix 1, Willingness to Pay Scenarios. This is complex and our stattisticians have not yet had time to analyse it appropriately. A couple of basic questions: where did the idea of the planetarium come from? We cannot yet find a reason for the choice of this particular feature. It was not mentioned in any press release, Inquiry submission or other material. Why not?

13.   In the above-mentioined document the link to the survey used ( https://drivegoogle.com/file/d/0B00PM004f dxdZFVGWN lNzhQSDg/view? usP=shal'hg ) does not work. Could this be remedied? Could we get access to the MAAS Pilot results report of 18.09.2016 which seems to have been a basic underpinning of the quoted work?

14.   The Lab, Experimentations and Wiggles sections of PHM Ultimo are destined to be scrapped, removing areas in which inner-city children can experiment and play creatively. These are in constant use, and are unique to the area. Basically they are the only places in which these activites can occur. The Government is encouraging the building more and more high rise apartments, which will mean more and more children in the area. The unique, constantly used play spaces will be replaced by a Lyric Theatre, which will have only part-time use, and supplements nearbly spaces such as the Star Lyirc Theatre, the Capitol etc. Would the Government like to explain why the welfare of inner-city children is of such low priority?


Thank you so much for your support! Remember if you want to be removed from this list email tomlockley@gmail.com. Don’t use ‘reply’ as I get so many comments that sometimes replies get lost.

Tom Lockley 

(tomlockley@gmail.com , 0403 615 134, PO Box 301 Pyrmont 2009

tomlockley@gmail.com is the best method of communication)

Australia’s major museum of arts and sciences in Sydney’s most evocative heritage building. For more information

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