The NSW Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ objective  

To develop a case for investment in an iconic cultural institution in Western Sydney. 


The NSW Government had committed to relocate the flagship Powerhouse Museum from the Sydney CBD to Parramatta.

Johnstaff’s role

Johnstaff was engaged to provide the full suite of services required for the development of a comprehensive Final Business Case in line with NSW Government guidance. Johnstaff was the lead business case project manager and author.

Johnstaff was responsible for managing all business case workstreams, including demand analysis, financial and economic modelling and appraisal, risk assessment, concept design and related studies, cost estimation, programming and procurement options analysis.

Johnstaff’s scope was expanded to include an Investment Case exploring potential uses of the existing Powerhouse Museum site, focusing on translating the Government’s direction to retain a “Powerhouse presence at the current site in Ultimo”. 

The New Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Parramatta, NSW

Addressing the issues

The project’s complex scope and political sensitivity presented unique challenges, given the disparate views of many stakeholders.

Johnstaff leveraged its experience in infrastructure and high profile, high risk projects to garner cross-government support for the highly contentious project through a thoroughly planned and coordinated engagement strategy.

The business case’s detailed investigation and analysis provided the foundation for due diligence. It led to an international design competition launched in January 2019, which attracted submissions from 20 countries.  

map of the project location


  • Challenging delivery timeframe met

  • The Final Business Case was approved by NSW Government in 2018, with funding allocated for the new museum in Parramatta

  • Submissions attracted from 20 countries