Australia’s fashion and design industries have welcomed the New South Wales government’s plan to transform the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo in what has been described as the single-biggest investment in arts and culture since the building of the Opera House.
The NSW government announced on Tuesday that it would spend between $480m and $500m to turn the Ultimo site into a fashion and design hub.
The future of the heritage building in the inner-city suburb has been uncertain for years. In 2015 then-premier Mike Baird announced the building would be sold off to apartment developers, with the entirety of the museum’s expansive holdings moved to a new site in Parramatta. After five years of controversy and fierce community opposition, Gladys Berejiklian’s government abandoned those plans in 2020, but maintained its commitment to a second Parramatta site.
On Tuesday, NSW arts minister Don Harwin announced this year’s state budget would contain “the first tranch” required to fund “the complete renewal of this building”.