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Powerhouse Director to step down after public funds used to pay for fashion party

Powerhouse Director to step down after public funds used to pay for fashion party
July 27, 2018

The NSW Government has advised that Dolla Merrrillees, Director of Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), will not return to the Museum before her contract ends on 7th September.

The ABC this week revealed that the MAAS Centre for Fashion Ball, meant to raise money to preserve key pieces of Australia's fashion history to add to the Museum's collection, cost taxpayers more than $200,000 while rasing just $70,000 for its new fashion fund.

With the revelations leading to calls for Merrillees' resignation, a spokesman from the NSW Department of Planning, which oversees the MAAS, said a decision to scrap the position of Director was made when the NSW Government in April confirmed its decision to move the museum to Parramatta.

Merillees, who is currently on lengthy personal leave, was advised she would need to apply for the new role of Chief Executive and on Thursday confirmed she would not.

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin was accused of misleading the NSW Parliament by NSW Upper House MP Robert Borsak over the affair.

Minister Harwin denied the claim stating "the responses given to Parliament were based on advice received from the director of the museum."

Speaking yesterday evening, Minister Harwin thanked Merrillees "for guiding the Museum of Applied Arts and Science (MAAS) through what has been a challenging and exciting phase."

He added “Dolla's leadership during the decision phase to move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta has helped lay the platform for the future of this treasured institution.”

Merrillees took over as director of the MAAS in 2016, after it was earmarked for relocation to Parramatta by the NSW Government.

She has several times fronted an Upper House enquiry into the decision to move the Museum.

Image: Bradley Cocks, Dolla Merrillees and Collette Dinnigan on the red carpet at the MAAS Centre for Fashion Ball. Courtesy: MAAS/Facebook.

Related Articles

26th July 2018 - Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum used public funds to support fashion event

30th April 2018 - New features announced for relocated Sydney Powerhouse Museum plus plans for current Ultimo site

12th June 2018 - Massive tower developments to fund relocation of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum

5th August 2017 - NSW Government to purchase Parramatta riverfront site for new Powerhouse Parramatta

11th April 2016 - Powerhouse Museum to be relocated to the banks of the Parramatta River

26th February 2015 - Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum to relocate to Parramatta


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