The Victorian State Government has announced up to $210 million for the expansion of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in the 2015-16 State Budget. The space will be funded through the 2015-16 Victorian Budget handed down today by the new Andrews Labor Government.
Stage two of MCEC’s expansion is expected to help keep MCEC as Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space.
“We have been working closely with the Victorian State Government and stakeholders to develop a proposal that meets the global demand for multi-purpose convention and exhibition space,» Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman Bob Annells said in a statement. “The investment supports the work MCEC conducts with the Melbourne Convention Bureau to attract major business events to Victoria and aligns with the government’s Victorian Visitor Economy Review to support the growth and development of this sector.”
MCEC Chief Executive Peter King said the announcement would help both the industry and Victoria. “Melbourne has led the growth of the business events industry globally for the last decade, and it’s wonderful to see government investing in this lucrative and important sector. $580 million of economic contribution is generated annually from MCEC’s activities and the expansion is estimated to generate an additional $175 million annually for the state.
“MCEC’s expansion will significantly expand the South Wharf precinct footprint to offer a range of flexible spaces to meet the changing needs of the business events industry, address global competition and ensure we retain our position as Australia’s number one business events destination.”
The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia commended the Victorian Government on its decision. “We welcome this investment as it paves the way for the expansion of Melbourne’s outstanding Business Events facilities and will enable venue-bound shows to grow as well as free up the Victorian calendar to provide capacity for new shows. This will herald a new era for the exhibition and events sector in Victoria,” EEAA Chief Executive Joyce DiMascio said in a statement. “For the Business Events Sector to thrive and be internationally competitive, we need fit-for-purpose infrastructure on the scale befitting world cities. We will be taking a strong message to the Victorian Government that the construction of the expanded facilities should be planned in such a way as to minimise the disruptive impact on the events sector.
“If there is one lesson Governments should take from the closure of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre (SCEC), it is that disruption due to construction must be managed with the highest regard for its flow on effects to the industry.”
The completion of MCEC’s expansion is expected to result in an additional 74,000 international visitors annually, create hundreds of jobs and provide an estimated $167 million boost to the economy.
The venue has had a record three years while turning away 20 percent of business opportunities due to a lack of available space, and exceeded expectations following the Victorian State Government’s previous investment to build the new Convention Centre in 2009.
Each year, the MCEC attracts more than 1,000 events, 1.5 million visitors and is recognised globally for its excellence in event delivery.
The Victorian State Government will work with Plenary and their partners to negotiate and finalize the proposed expansion master plan and details will follow in the coming months.
By INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS REVIEW