Western Sydney, not the Sydney CBD, should be the focus for any future arts and culture precinct

Riverside Theatre Parramatta

Riverside Theatre Parramatta

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by StreetCorner

Western Sydney, not the Sydney CBD, should be the focus for any future arts and culture precinct, Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Lorraine Wearne, said today.

Cr Wearne said that a recent Planning Sydney’s Cultural Facilities report, commissioned by the previous State Government, had proposed the development of small and large, multi-purpose arts venues in the Sydney CBD, but failed to address the population growth of Western Sydney.

“Within the next 15 years Western Sydney will be home to roughly half of greater Sydney’s population and it’s unfair to expect these people to sit in traffic, or rely on public transport, to travel into the Sydney CBD each time an event is being held,” Cr Wearne said.

“The State Government recognised the importance of helping facilitate the growth of arts and entertainment in Western Sydney when it announced that the Sydney Festival will hold a 10-day event in Parramatta in January 2012,” she said.

“We’ve also partnered with the State Government to deliver many well-received events over the past two years, including the AR Rahman concert at Parramatta Park, which attracted a crowd of 70,000, the annual Parramasala festival, and just last weekend, we had the Crave Sydney International Food Festival,” Cr Wearne said.

“However it’s important to not only provide entertainment options, but also ensure we have the necessary facilities and long-term cultural investment that will encourage and foster creative artists that reside west of the Pyrmont Bridge.”

Cr Wearne said Parramatta’s Old Kings School site, which sits adjacent to the Riverside Theatres, was just one of many possible options that could be developed to host free and ticketed events.

“Our annual events and arts programs have highlighted that there is strong demand for cultural festivities in Western Sydney. For instance outside of the Sydney Opera House, our Riverside Theatres is the busiest performing arts centre in NSW,” she said.

“With a growing reputation as an ‘events-led’ City, thriving dining culture, and plenty of lush parklands and open spaces, Parramatta represents an ideal arts and entertainment hub,” Cr Wearne said.

“What we need is investment in facilities and venues that will continue to attract top events and allow our own creative industries to flourish.”

By Parramatta City Council

Should Western Sydney become the focus for Sydney's arts & culture? Has the CBD dominated arts & cultural funding for too long? Why doesn't Western Sydney get the same funding & arts infrastructure as Sydney's inner suburbs? Share your views with the community here or write your own story & post it on Streetcorner and we'll spread the word with locals.

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Western Sydney should definitely become the focus for Sydney's arts and culture. Cities such as Parramatta and Bankstown cater for a range of cultural events and the Councils fund various local organisations. Bankstown will be hosting the inaugural Lebanese Film Festival next year, supported by Bankstown Council and with the launch of the Bankstown Arts Centre (arts and cultural facility), Bankstown has already hosted various events including the Latin-American Film Festival. The State Government funded 3.8 million dollars for the establishment of the Bankstown Arts Center. Parramatta also hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year and has already established itself as a arts and cultural hub in Western Sydney.

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