DSMG Chair Julie Jones and Director-Finance, Richie Howitt attended NSW Parliament House to give evidence to the Select Committee on the Government's Management of the Powerhouse Museum. Our evidence reinforced the concerns put forward in our submission on the Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] for the proposed Powerhouse at Parramatta. We emphasised that we objected to the project as proposed, and concluded that the EIS made unacceptable conclusions not supported by the evidence reported in the EIS. We tabled a copy of our EIS submission as part of our evidence to the Committee and offered a formal written submission in addition to our response to any questions the Committee might raise with us. Our written submission reiterated our opposition to the destruction of Willow Grove and our dissatisfaction with a design that in no way responds to the Dharug storying of the riverside precinct. We submitted that:
The proposed Powerhouse at Parramatta diminishes the value of the site, puts the river and its cultural landscapes at risk, disrespects community values and narratives about the place, and that the area proposed for destruction should be supported as part of a re-connecting to the river, and a healing of Nura.
It is clear that we have not been listened to. We have not been heard. We have not been understood.
Like the Willow Grove site itself, we have been dismissed. We have been diminished. We have been seen as not having value in the museum’s self-aggrandising view of what really matters as the Nura known as Parramatta disappears under a blanket of overdevelopment.
Our culture, our history, our Ancestors and our own continuing presence and the material artefacts and traces that are left in place are not something to be “mitigated”! These are not things to be possessed, managed and displayed by the Museum.
We are sick of (and sickened by) the repetitive apologising that changes nothing and that only reinforces that apology by ignorant, well-paid and powerless experts changes nothing.
The idea that Willow Grove could be ‘deconstructed’ and relocated to the North Parramatta Heritage Precinct was raised for the first time with us in the hearing and we expressed our opposition to the idea that this would protect Willow Grove. The idea that it would become part of a Local Land Council enterprise and development project just reinforces the ignorance about the importance of respecting Nura.
The Guardian covered our evidence to the Committee here
The Guardian covered the relocation of Willow Grove here
Read the transcript of our evidence to the Committee here or the written submission here.