Accorded Priority Western Sydney Arts and Culture

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [3.48 p.m.]: I speak on the motion and the amendment. It is incredible that the North Shore member of Parliament who calls himself the Minister for Western Sydney, the Premier, can push a cultural icon like the Powerhouse Museum onto the west. That is typical. The Government wants to impose the eastern suburbs on the western suburbs—that is what it is about. And the member for Parramatta should know better. Perhaps if he were the Minister for Western Sydney he would not put up with such a thing. What we need in Western Sydney is our own museum. We do not need something brought in from the east, the north or somewhere else. We have our own culture, artists and musicians—we can have it there.

Have we got an art gallery? No, we do not even have an art gallery in Western Sydney—nothing. So let us think about this: How serious is this Government about bringing the arts to Western Sydney? Let us look at a couple of matters. There are 56 appointments in the five major arts boards in New South Wales. How many of the 56 board members come from Western Sydney? Have a guess. Would members say half or maybe 10? It is five out of 56. So that means that of the 56 board positions for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian Museum Trust, the Powerhouse Museum, the Sydney Opera House Trust and the State Library of New South Wales there are five from Western Sydney.

The Government is just not serious about bringing culture to Western Sydney; it is not serious about these things for the west. It is all just talk. And where does it want to put this new museum? One would want to put it right in the centre on Church Street in Parramatta or maybe near Westfield. There are plenty of good areas there. But obviously the Government's mates the developers want those areas. It is going to put it on a golf course which is not near the centre of Parramatta. It will take a significant effort to get to the museum if the Government puts it at the golf course. If one were serious about bringing culture, an art gallery and other things to Western Sydney, one would not do that.

Let us think about the numbers. It is a region of two million inhabitants today and there will be three million by 2030. Yet how much money has the Government given? It is $30 million over four years. That sounds fantastic, but that is the same amount of money being given to the Art Gallery of New South Wales alone over one year. So the Art Gallery of New South Wales is given $30 million for one year but the whole of Western Sydney is given $30 million for four years—what an absolute joke. Those on the other side love to go on about how Labor does not do this and does not do that, so let us think about this. I know the member for Parramatta has been to the Parramatta Riverside Theatre—I have been there with him. He knows how important it is. There is the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the Campbelltown Arts Centre—how fantastic is that? This Government does not take Western Sydney seriously and it is time it did. [Time expired.]

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