Fury over Powerhouse Museum move
Officials opposed to the NSW Government's planned destruction of a heritage-listed villa in Parramatta were furious on Friday over the alleged secrecy surrounding the project.
A delegation from a state parliamentary inquiry into the government's handling of the controversial Powerhouse Museum planned in Parramatta had hoped to show the media the interior of Willow Grove, a Victorian Italianate two-storey villa built in the 1870s.
The building will be bulldozed if the Government's plan for a new museum on the site goes forward.
"I think it's completely stupid", Robert Borsak, committee chair and upper house member from the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party said.
Greens member and deputy committee chair David Shoebridge said the only reason the Government locks out the media "is because they don't want you to see what's behind these locked gates".
"Because behind these locked gates is a critical piece of NSW history," he said.
An official from Create NSW who was present said the committee had failed to request access for the media, however committee members disputed this characterisation.
Willow Grove has emerged as a flashpoint for local residents opposing the government's plans for the new Powerhouse Museum.
It was once used as a maternity hospital and has been heritage-listed along with St George's Terrace, another local building that is considered historically and aesthetically significant and which has also been slated for destruction as part of the Powerhouse Museum plans.
Michelle Locke from the Dharug Strategic Management Group said Willow Grove had significance for the local Aboriginal community.
"To establish a new museum, you have to destroy what's already here," Ms Locke said..
"We have history, we have culture, we have science.
"It's here and you need to look at it, not destroy it to put up something that's going to be cold and stale."
Protections for the building were quietly removed last year to facilitate the Government's demolition plans, through an application by Parramatta City Council officers to lift restrictions on development on the garden forecourt, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday.
The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) has slapped a green ban on Willow Grove and St George's Terrace, which means union workers are barred from participating in the demolition.
Asked if the government might try to push ahead anyway, state CFMMEU secretary Darren Greenfield said: "They could always attempt that, but we have a lot of tentacles out there in the construction industry, so we'd like to think we'd get any information back to us if that was attempted".
Originally published as 'Stupid': Fury over Powerhouse Museum move