20 year and $20 billion infrastructure vision

M&G NSW welcomes announcement

Part of the 20 year and $20 billion Rebuilding NSW vision announced yesterday by Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant, is a $600 million component to improve cultural infrastructure. In a broad ranging document the Premier proposes strong focus on developing and investing in clearly defined cultural precincts across the State.

In Sydney, the Infrastructure NSW report recommends two clearly defined cultural precincts; a CBD precinct based around the Sydney Opera House, extending to Barangaroo in the west and the Australian Museum in the east; and a Parramatta precinct, established as part of the North Parramatta Urban Renewal Project.

M&G NSW has long supported the identification and establishment of cultural hubs and associated improved facilities in regional NSW.

To anchor the new Parramatta cultural precinct, Infrastructure NSW recommends giving consideration to relocating the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (the Powerhouse Museum). A relocated Powerhouse would be seen as a core asset in the Parramatta precinct and a major addition to cultural infrastructure in the west.

The report goes on to suggest that in addition, and as part of a recommended whole-of sector strategy, services and collections from CBD-based institutions, such as the Australian Museum, could be shared with or at least exhibited in the Parramatta Cultural Precinct.

In Western Sydney, it is recommended that in partnership with local councils, opportunities for co-investment in repurposed existing infrastructure and new cultural infrastructure occur, with particular regard to the river cities of Liverpool, Penrith and Campbelltown.

Outside Sydney, cultural investment priorities in Newcastle and Wollongong should be delivered in partnership with local councils are identified, with an initial focus on developing precincts based around the Newcastle Art Gallery and the Wollongong Town Hall and Performing Arts Centre. Coincidently, earlier this week Newcastle Council, under new Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, passed a Mayoral Minute to make funding the Newcastle Art Gallery a priority!

In regional NSW, the report suggests investment should be directed towards the creation of regional cultural hubs and precincts, with further investigation into the potential for digital infrastructure to drive local and tourist visitation.

The report also supports plans for a purpose-built Indigenous Cultural Centre within the CBD Cultural Precinct to facilitate greater access to Australian indigenous art and culture in general and to establish Aboriginal collections located in Sydney and regional NSW.

M&G NSW has long supported the identification and establishment of cultural hubs and associated improved facilities in regional NSW, in Western Sydney, in the Illawarra and in Hunter, and acknowledge the importance of providing improved access to the State’s collections in those areas. We would also like to re-emphasise that local producer and presenter capacities in the small to medium section of the industry should not be overlooked.

Michael Rolfe, CEO M&G NSW


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