Powerhouse Museum Dispute Update - Public Service Association

Powerhouse Museum Dispute Update

At the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on 13 March 2024 agreement was reached on the following:

  1. Staff relocation to Castle Hill will not occur until 25 March 2024,
  2. The WHS Committee is to meet on site to address the WHS concerns that have been raised,
  3. A sub-committee of the Joint Consultative Committee (the Castle Hill Working Group (CHWC)) with both Employer and PSA representatives to address ongoing issues with the relocation of staff to Castle Hill will be established.

PSA is in receipt of the draft terms of reference for the CHWC, the working group will undertake the following activities:

  1. Information sharing – CHWC members will update the group on any relevant strategic or operational information concerning the Castle Hill site.
  2. Identify, discuss, and resolve issues or conflicts to ensure a coordinated operational approach.
  3. Communicate relevant information to Castle Hill teams following each meeting.
  4. Update the JCC and Executive on any relevant issues or activities bi-monthly.
  5. Respond to any directions from the Executive Team or Chief Executive.

PSA advised the Commission that it did not consider that this was adequate to alleviate the impacts on those staff who will have a considerable increase to travel and associated costs when working from Castle Hill from Ultimo but it is a start.

We are still in ongoing negotiations through the Commission as to ensuring greater and easier flexibility for staff working form Castle Hill and note the following from their own consultant’s report prepared on 22 June 2020 ‘Powerhouse Museum Worker Transport Strategy’, that states:

Reducing the need to travel

To ensure that sustainable transport options are promoted to staff when making journeys for work purposes, and to reduce the need to travel, the following measures should be implemented.

  1. Providing for ‘default flexibility’ for all staff – not just permitting but encouraging more flexibility’ for all staff – not just encouraging more flexible working hours or locations. This involves creating a culture whereby a staff member is not required to provide an excuse to work flexibility or from home, instead it is accepted as normal practice. This contributes to reducing travel demand generated by the sites.

The PSA couldn’t agree more and will continue to advocate for the maximum possible flexibility for staff moving to Castle Hill.

Powerhouse Ultimo Revitalisation Reference Group

This has been established through the Minister’s Office and the PSA has representation along with other community groups as part of the ongoing consultation for the future of the Ultimo Museum. It is fair to say at this time, despite assurances from the Minister, that the PSA still holds grave concerns for the future of the Ultimo Museum.

The first meeting is on Friday 15 March 2024 and a further report to members will be provided following that meeting.

PSA Survey

Thank you to those members who participated in the Survey, the information has been important in assisting us at the Commission, the following is a brief summary of the responses received:

Impact on Travel 

88 per cent will travel for more than hour each way

6 per cent  will have more than 2 hours travel

6 per cent will have less than 1 hour

13 (72 per cent) staff will have an increase in travel time

Travel Expenses

77 per cent  will have increased travel expenses, some with increases of up to $250 per week along with other associated costs on tolls, vehicles and out of school care as some examples.


All responses indicated they wanted greater flexibility with Work From Home and from other locations.


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