NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
After a productive visit to Israel it’s great to return home to announce a world-class location for the Powerhouse Museum on the banks of the Parramatta River in Western Sydney.
It was an honour to become the first serving NSW Premier to visit the so-called ‘startup nation’ as part of a trade mission focused on medicinal cannabis, cyber security and innovation. A delegation joined me on the visit, including the state’s Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, NSW Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane and medical cannabis advocate Lucy Haslam.
The visit resulted in formal partnerships that will allow the state’s businesses and universities to share knowledge and information with one of the world’s most innovative economies. These new partnershipswill allow us to increase our competitiveness in the digital economy.
During the visit I was invited to the home of President Reuven Rivlin, where we discussed the strength of the NSW-Israel relationship and our willingness to increase cooperation.
I also signed a new agreement with Israel’s Chief Scientist Mr Avi Hasson in Tel Aviv, which will allow us to learn from Israel’s experiences as a start up nation. The Agreement on Bilateral Co-operation in R&D and Technical Innovation commits NSW and Israel to invest $2 million into co-operative startup and innovation projects – particularly those focused on cybersecurity, agribusiness and water management.
We’re looking into how medicinal cannabis can help the terminally ill or people suffering chronic pain and it was good to speak with world-leading researcher Professor Raphael Mechoulam at his lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. There is a lot we can learn from Israel in this area of medical research, and I’m pleased to report the Government will be able to draw on the country’s knowledge after an agreement was struck with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service has purchased a new flight simulator, which will drastically improve aeromedical training and allow pilots to undertake their training in Australia – rather than travelling to the United States. I announced the Government will be contributing $2.5 million toward the construction of a new facility at Dubbo airport that will house the new simulator.
A new partnership between Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science will pave the way for Australia’s first cellular genomic research facility.The Centre for Genomics will be based at the Garvan Institute in Darlinghurst after Mr Baird announced the Government would provide $5m toward its establishment.
The Australian Representative Office in Ramallah helped arrange a visit to the West Bank, where I met with Palestinian Foreign Minister Dr RiadMalki and paid a visit to the UNRWA Aida refugee camp to see first-hand how Australian aid was making a difference. It was a privilege to visit the territory to hear from Palestinians themselves about the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Back at home, a site on the banks of the Parramatta River at Parramatta has been selected for Parramatta’s new Powerhouse Museum, which means that for the first time one of the state’s five major cultural institutions will be in Western Sydney.
It will ensure Western Sydney has a new, world-class cultural institution that will be a major drawcard for local and international visitors, which will serve as an anchor for a new arts and cultural precinct.
The riverbank site, the old David Jones car park, was selected over another site at Parramatta Golf Course because of its close proximity to public transport and easy accessibility for pedestrians.
Now that we’ve selected the preferred site, planning work can get underway to make the vision of the Powerhouse as a beacon of art and culture in Western Sydney a reality.