Powerhouse Parramatta gets $30m boost

Parramatta MP Geoff Lee says the Powerhouse will be 'so much more than a museum' for Western Sydney.
Parramatta MP Geoff Lee says the Powerhouse will be 'so much more than a museum' for Western Sydney.

The Powerhouse Museum's Parramatta chapter will receive a combined $30 million in donations to help kids from western Sydney and regional NSW learn about science and technology.

The Walker Family Foundation has pledged $20 million and Western Sydney University will provide the other $10 million, NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin announced on Friday.

Mr Harwin says that, combined, these "simply extraordinary" gifts make up one of the largest donations ever to an arts and cultural institution in Australia.

The Lang Walker Family Academy, funded by the $20 million donation, will provide overnight stays at the museum and other STEM education experiences for over 10,000 high school students from western Sydney and the regions every year.

There'll be four state-of-the-art education spaces and dorm rooms to allow students and teachers to stay the night.

The academy, named for a billionaire developer, will kick off next year with in-school STEM education programming planning for schools in the Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Bankstown, Penrith and Parramatta local government areas.

As the museum's Foundation University Partner, Western Sydney University will embed researchers there and fund a scholar-in-residence.

It will also be a supporting partner for the Lang Walker Family Academy.

Geoff Lee, the Parramatta MP and Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, said Powerhouse Parramatta would be "so much more than a museum".

"The STEM programs and opportunities delivered by the Lang Walker Family Academy will prepare our children for the future and develop and inspire the scientists, engineers, and innovative thinkers the future needs - right here in Western Sydney," Dr Lee said in a statement.

The new site in Parramatta is due to open in 2023 with a focus on science and technology.

Australian Associated Press