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A public forum to protest the controversial relocation of the Powerhouse Museum will be held this Friday.

Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker, historian Shirley Fitzgerald as well as City Hub publisher and president of the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce Lawrence Gibbons will speak at the ‘Fight for the Powerhouse’ event.

The forum follows the Baird government’s announcement in late February that they would relocate the museum to Parramatta to develop western Sydney’s arts and cultural sector.

Mr Parker said the move was “cultural vandalism”, and that it was actually a real estate deal to cash in on the current Powerhouse site.

“It’s madness to destroy all of the investment in a purpose built exhibition facility so that they can build a facility somewhere else. It’s like saying we’re going to knock down RPA to build a hospital in Campbelltown, it’s ridiculous,” he said.

“This is actually a real estate deal, it’s not an issue of cultural equity in western Sydney.”

An online petition against the museum’s relocation was launched by Mr Parker in early March and has since gained over 1400 signatures.

One person who signed the petition said it was a “pure and simple” land grab.

“This should not be presented as an us-and-them situation. You don’t enhance the cultural life of western Sydney by closing down a much-loved institution in the city. This is about a land grab – pure and simple,” they said.

Mr Parker said a key aim of the evening was to build an action group against the plan.

“What we know wins these struggles is community action, and we want to build a group of people who are interested in publicising and coordinating a campaign to protect our public buildings and also to promote arts and the culture in the community,” he said.

The Fight for the Powerhouse Museum event will be held at the Ultimo Community Centre, Friday 20 March, 6:30-7:45PM.